Narratively stories are defined by our style, a particularly immersive, active form of storytelling. We don't publish articles *about* a topic, instead we take readers inside another world, another life, through vivid scenes and compelling narrative arcs. 

As always, the best way to get a clear sense of what makes a Narratively story is to read several pieces on our site

There are a few key factors that every Narratively story has:

-It’s untold. It’s original, fresh, and not already covered in other major publications. Think offbeat, unusual, beyond the news cycle.

-It’s human. Every Narratively story follows either one central character or a group of characters. We explore big ideas and topics, but always through the lens of human experience.

-It’s narrative. As you may have guessed from our name, we like stories with a narrative arc. That means that each Narratively story has a beginning, middle, and end, and that something changes over the course of the story. That also means that there are compelling, vivid, active scenes. Don’t just tell us about something that happened, bring us through the events and let us see, feel, and hear them unfold.

If it doesn't check all three of these boxes, it's not going to be a fit for us.


Also, here are a few things we're definitely *not* looking for. Please check this list and make sure your idea is not any of these things before pitching:

-News response op-eds or "hot takes"

-Anything written in the second person

-Stories about ghosts, aliens, demonic possession, visitations from God, or any other paranormal experiences that are not fact-checkable

-Personal essays about your time in the Peace Corps, hiking the Appalachian trail, online dating, or anything else that's been done to death. Keep it fresh and new! (Read this guide from our Memoir Editor for more details on that.)

-Reported pieces about someone you have a personal connection to

-Fiction or poetry, no matter how incredible


Please note: We pay competitive rates for every story we publish. Because our rates vary depending on the story and the contributor, we can't give rate quotes until we've seen your specific pitch.

Believable, a podcast by Narratively currently in production, is looking for pitches!

In each episode of Believable, we dive into a personal story where narratives conflict, and different perspectives about the truth collide.

We’re looking for stories about the way that narratives shape lives in both positive and negative ways.  We’re looking for solid, nuanced ideas about narrative rooted in strong characters going through interesting circumstances. Our stories are 20-30 minutes long, character and scene driven, and have several twists or surprising moments. The people in our stories are diverse, and we’re especially keen to receive pitches from female producers, LGBTQ producers, and producers of color.

Our stories focus on a single character navigating the grey area between personal experience and objective truth. In one of our stories, a woman has a spiritual experience when she survives a medical phenomenon, and has to square that experience with skeptics, including herself. In another, a survivor of a police shooting is charged with the attempted murder of the officer who shot him, and a jury has to decide who to believe in the face of mounting evidence of police misconduct. In another, a therapist takes a risky and ethically dubious approach to help a man shed a false narrative he has about himself.  These stories focus on extraordinary experiences and expand to say something larger about the role of narrative in the lives of people.  But on their own, they're just interesting, complex stories.

If you think you have an idea or a story that might fit the bill, please pitch us!

(Compensation: AIR rates, $1,500)

Submissions and pitches for extraordinary reported stories. We want the incredible, the unusual, the unheard of. We want in-depth reporting on worlds that readers might not otherwise have access to, with strong central characters and active scenes. 


Make sure your pitch meets the following requirements:


-It’s untold. It’s original, fresh, and not already covered in other major publications. Think offbeat, unusual, beyond the news cycle.


-It’s human. Every Narratively story follows either one central character or a group of characters. We explore big ideas and topics, but always through the lens of human experience.


-It’s narrative. As you may have guessed from our name, we like stories with a narrative arc. That means that each Narratively story has a beginning, middle, and end, and that something changes over the course of the story. That also means that there are compelling, vivid, active scenes. Don’t just tell us about something that happened, bring us through the events and let us see, feel, and hear them unfold.

Most of our stories are in the 1,500-3,000-word range. 


Narratively has become known for our high-caliber personal stories, which rise above the flood of confessional “it happened to me” first-person writing. We want to publish the one incredible, truly unique story that only you can tell. We want a glimpse into your life, and through that, into a world we’d never have access to otherwise.


As with all Narratively stories, memoir submissions should be made up of compelling, vivid, active scenes. Bring us into the story with you, and let us see it unfold – rather than just telling us about it after the fact.


And there should be a narrative arc – a beginning, a middle, and an end – that shows you developing a new or different perspective by the end of the piece. That is, we need more than just an account of something wild that happened to you; we need to see the impact that experience has had on your life.

Most of our first-person stories are in the 2,000-3,000 word range. *Please do not submit personal essays under 1,500 words or over 4,000 words.*


Some examples we love:

My Childhood in an Apocalyptic Cult


Searching for the Nazi Who Saved My Mother's Life


There's a Mathematical Equation that Proves I'm Ugly... Or So I Learned in My Seventh Grade Art Class


Secret Life of a Devout Christian Dominatrix


I Went to the Hospital to Give Birth... And Tested Positive for Meth


**PLEASE NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS** 

  

Narratively is always looking for photo stories that bring new perspectives and voices to accompany our catalog of human-centric storytelling. Please note that we publish photo essays as opposed to photo galleries – while great photography is the backbone of each piece, every photo essay must al have a story arc that is driven by both visuals and original reporting. 

Our photo stories usually have between 10-20 photos, with reporting presented via captions and accompanying text that inform the readers about the larger story as well as all of the details.

What to Submit: We review completed photo essays or works in progress. Each submission should include a headline that defines the unique focus of the story, along with a series of photographs and explanatory text. We collaborate closely with all contributors to edit the stories and prepare them for publication

We are always looking for something new and untold. If the story has been done before, we want to see a surprising perspective or a new angle. Submitssions should fall into one of Narratively’s primary channels:

Super Subcultures

Stories about people who build their lives around weird and wonderful obsesions. 

Examples:

http://narrative.ly/getting-hooked-weird-wonderful-world-body-suspension/

http://narrative.ly/welcome-to-moonlight-rollerway-where-nothing-has-changed-since-1956/

http://narrative.ly/the-jamaican-dance-style-keeping-brooklyn-kids-off-the-street/

Renegades

Profiles of fearless game changers who are reconstructing the world in their own unique way. 

Examples: 

http://narrative.ly/these-farc-guerrillas-are-trading-their-guns-for-cameras/ http://narrative.ly/government-killed-families-now-women-helping-survive/

Deep Dives

Ambitious projects that put a human face on an important and newsworthy issue.

Examples: 

http://narrative.ly/20-inmates-show-the-heartbreaking-cost-of-growing-old-behind-bars/

http://narrative.ly/the-camera-thats-flipping-stereotypes-of-fatherhood-upside-down/

Memoir

Photo series that provide an intimate look at a photographer’s life, with a concrete narrative.

http://narrative.ly/putting-my-camera-down-and-finally-mourning-my-parents/

http://narrative.ly/shooting-while-sleepwalking/

Other things we are looking within these categories:

– Always focus on the human appeal of the stories. Tell us: why is this story important to readers right now?

– Please review the example photo essays above and consider how your story and angle could fit into Narratively.

–Offer an untold story, or a fresh take on a story where the nuance and details are often overlooked in mainstream media coverage.

– Engage the reader with a cohesive storyline that takes us from one point to the next, with a concrete beginning, middle and end.

What we are not looking for:

– Parachute Journalism: A good photo story is well researched and photographed over some period of time spent with the subject(s). We want readers to be transported into the world through careful examination and documentation.

– Undeveloped ideas: Unfortunately, we don’t fund projects from scratch; we need you to at least have a solid understanding of what the main subject/storyline is, along with some examples of your work.

– Pretty photos with no context: Oftentimes, we receive beautiful photography with little reporting. We need to know who the people in the photographs are and what their story is.

Narratively