Trashy Short Stories (That Sell!) By Peggy Fielding

Read Peggy’s new book, Confessing For Money. Available at

Nearly everyone who expresses the desire to be a writer tries to write (and sell) short stories. Why not? Short stories look easy – easy to write and easy to sell. It’s not as if you’ll need to dedicate a year or more to the project as you would if you were choosing to write a novel.

The truth is, short stories (good ones, anyway) are hideously difficult to write and almost impossible to sell after you’ve written them. The reason is because there are so few quality literary and commercial short story markets these days.

The good news is that there is a secret short story market that still welcomes, still buys, and still publishes short stories. If you are willing to meet the needs of these short story markets, you can begin to sell your work. You just have to write to the requirements of these particular magazines.

We’re talking confessions here, sometimes called, “true confessions.” Yeah, the magazines your grandmother called, “trash.” They’re still buying stories, lots of them, every month.

And they aren’t “trash.” They may have titillating titles on the cover to draw readers in, but they are the most moral of all the women’s magazines published these days (moral in the sense that they espouse the generally held middle class notions of what is best for any woman who wants to live the good life in the USA).

The moral of the confessions story, what our narrator learns, should not be pointed out directly as authors used to do. We need to write today’s story with the implicit moral underscored by what our characters say, do and think.

What are the morals (values) most clearly demonstrated in confessions? There are several, and every story demonstrates one or more of them.

Those implicit morals are:

Shacking up is okay but legal marriage is much better.
Marriage without children is okay but legal marriage with two or more children is infinitely better.
A child born out of wedlock is okay but being born a child to loving (married) parents is a thousand times better.
Practicing no religion is okay but attending church occasionally is better. Attending an established religious institution consistently and taking part in the church activities is the best of all possible worlds.
Getting government help to live is okay if there is no other way, but working and caring for your own by the sweat of your brow is ever so much better.
Leaving your children in childcare is okay but being a stay-at-home-mother, although seldom possible, is top-of-the-trees better.
Sending sick, older or disabled family members to an institution to be cared for by others is okay but to care for your own loved one within your family is the really correct way to handle such problems if you can manage to do so.
In other words, our readers have accepted, without question, the middle class American values of Father, Mother, and two kids all living in a loving home while the extended family works and attends church or synagogue and takes part in community activities together!
Think you might like to try writing a story for this market? One caution; you won’t get a byline! But the check you’ll cash from TRUE ROMANCE magazine, or any of the other confession titles, soothes that wound pretty well.

Try it. You’ll probably like it! To learn how to write for this lucrative market, follow the ordering information below. Good luck in breaking into this secret short story market.

Confessing for Money is all about writing for the confession magazines — the largest and best paid short fiction market today. Peggy Fielding uses humor and professionalism to teach the formula for writing confessions. She discusses where to get ideas, compares writing confessions with writing for the literary market and advises how to submit stories to the right magazine. You’ll find out what the top-selling emotion is and discover the importance of taking confession writing seriously. Also, you will discover the number one error that causes rejected confession stories, straight from the lips of an editor!

Peggy Fielding has published hundreds of articles, short stories and confessions as well as several non-fiction books and novels. She often speaks at writer’s conferences and seminars across the country. Fielding, a fulltime writer and teaches writing part time. Her students have gone on to publish hundreds of confessions.