Our mission at Narratively is to publish untold human stories that surprise, delight and captivate readers. The true stories we publish are defined not by topic but by style: immersive, cinematic storytelling that takes readers inside another world, another life, through vivid scenes, colorful details and compelling narrative arcs.

We are excited to announce that after taking a temporary pause to rework our submissions process and focus on our Memoir Prize, we have reopened pitches for three of our most popular sections: Deep Dives, Memoir and Secret Lives. We also have a special call for pitches right now called "The Ever-Present Liquid—Stories on Water." (More information below.)

So, what are we looking for? The best way to get a clear sense of what makes a Narratively story is to read several pieces on our site, particularly from our Greatest Hits section. And to learn more about what a good pitch looks like, check out our StoryCraft pieces, “The 3 Best Pitches I’ve Ever Received,” which pulls back the curtain on how to get our attention, and, “So, What Is a Narratively Story, Anyway? (Hint: Surprising, Exciting and Delightful, to Start),” in which two Narratively editors break down what defines a feature story for the site, replete with advice on how to do it. Still have questions? Pop over to the How to Pitch Narratively thread and ask us anything!

(NOTE: We’ve refined what types of stories we publish in recent years, so if you’ve submitted to, or even written for, Narratively in the past, we request that you read these full guidelines plus review some of the stories in the link above before submitting.)

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

-It’s untold. The topic is original, fresh and not already covered in other major publications, books or movies. Think offbeat, unusual, beyond the news cycle. It should make the majority of readers say, “Wow, I’ve never heard about this before.”

-It’s human. Every Narratively story follows one central character or a small 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 concrete beginning, middle and end that unfolds like a movie, taking the readers on a wild ride as they see, feel and hear the events through your writing.

We pay for all stories. In addition to publishing on Narratively.com, we also develop TV, film and podcast projects inspired by the stories that run on our site, generating additional creative and financial opportunities for contributors.

To send us a pitch in any of the categories mentioned above, scroll down.

Please note that we only publish narrative nonfiction. We don’t publish fiction, poetry or opinion pieces.

As regional demographic trends collide, policymakers worldwide must consider new risks — and opportunities.   

As the global population surpasses 8 billion, the world is facing a critical demographic moment with two defining characteristics. On one hand, the world’s largest economies, whose populations are aging and shrinking, are looking for ways to sustain productivity and growth. On the other hand, there are several regions whose younger, often fast-growing populations are vying for long-sought economic development and social advancement. These shifting dynamics have big implications for economies and political stability. If the U.S. and the West fail to consider these changing population dynamics in decision-making, there is a greater risk of economic and political instability at home and abroad. As the world settles into this new demographic moment, the summer 2024 issue of the Wilson Quarterly goes beyond the “too many” or “too few” arguments of China’s latest policies that the media latches onto, to examine the power and limits of population as it relates to foreign policy. 

Pitches must not exceed 150 words — please only send the nut graph.

Word Count: 1,500-2,000 words

Rate: $2,000

Deadline: Pitches due June 3 

Announcing a special collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine that explores the shape-shifting magic, nourishment and destructiveness of H2O in all its forms. 

We’re back with a new series in our collab with the iconic Creative Nonfiction magazine, this one about that magical, sometimes terrifying, ubiquitous compound… water. It makes up about 60 percent of our body weight; it covers approximately 71 percent of the Earth; and it’s one of our basic human needs. We come to water to experience euphoria; and its power and unpredictability can also have devastating consequences

Which brings us to this call for pitches. We’re looking for stories about water, yes, but what about water, exactly? We want you to interpret this call in whatever way you feel inspired, which could mean anything from pitching us a story about a Jaws-like tale set in open water to one about a pioneering effort to produce safe drinking water. Do you have a profile of a swimmer who broke an unthinkable record despite physical challenges? Have you recently learned about a group of women who set out to retrieve a rumored fortune from a 200-year-old shipwreck? Did you or your neighbor organize a dangerous rescue mission after an avalanche and change the way things are done in your mountain town?

Whatever your story — floods, snorkeling, championship ice-sculpting, dehydration, desalination — we want to hear about it. These can be first-person or reported pieces, and they should have the same epic, immersive, cinematic storytelling and compelling narrative arcs we always look for. Surprise, delight and educate us! 

Some examples of stories we’ve published in the past that fit the theme:

The Curse of the Ship of Gold

The Obsessive Life and Mysterious Death of the Fisherman Who Discovered The Loch Ness Monster

The Teenage Prank That's Lasted 60 Years

Thirty Years Ago I Watched My Friend’s Father Drown. I Think About It Every Time My Children Go Near Water.

Word Count: We’re looking for stories around the same length as our typical features, between 3,000 and 6,000 words, but we’re not prescriptive and it can absolutely vary if a piece calls for something longer or shorter. 

Rates: Rates for these stories will start at $1,000 per story.

Pitches Due: Tuesday, May 28.

Memoir stories offer intimate takes on one-of-a-kind personal experiences. We want an honest glimpse into your life, and through that, into a world we’d never have access to otherwise.

As with all Narratively stories, first-person pitches should detail the compelling, vivid, active scenes your story will have. These scenes should be dramatic, exciting moments of you interacting with others. If most of your story is internal — thinking, feeling, reflecting — instead of moments where you are actively doing things and interacting with others, then it's not the right fit for us.

Some examples of first-person pieces we love:
Welcome to America’s Most Elite Girls Boarding School. Let the Hazing Begin.
I’m Married. I’m a Woman. I’m Addicted to Porn.
How I Wrote Myself into a Real-life Romantic Comedy – That Turned into a Survivalist Thriller

"Secret Lives" is one of Narratively’s most popular ongoing series, and one for which we’re always looking for new pitches. 

The series includes both reported profiles and first-person essays, and is defined by stories that bring readers into a slice of life they normally wouldn’t have access to.

Like all Narratively pieces, “Secret Lives” stories are narrative-driven, not topic-based. This means they go beyond “this is what it’s like to have this job” and take the reader through a *story* about the job or experience at hand. There needs to be a narrative arc with a clear beginning, middle and end. The writer or subject needs to be transformed in some meaningful way over the course of the story, and that transformation needs to be communicated through active, engaging, vivid scenes. 

There has to be something at stake, something universal and human that’s being unraveled and examined. The most successful “Secret Lives” stories draw the reader in thinking that they have nothing in common with the writer or subject, and by the end leaves them feeling connected to their experience in a way they never imagined possible. 

Some favorites:

Meet Ladybeard, the Crown Prince of Japan’s Strangest Music Scene

Porno Power: The Next Generation

The First Family of Human Cannonballing

The Deep South’s Dames of Dildos

Deep Dives are Narratively's signature longform pieces: big, exciting, cinematic stories. Each Deep Dive takes readers on an epic journey, following its subjects on a months- or years-long odyssey. They are deeply reported and chock-full of engrossing, dramatic scenes. Reading a Deep Dive should feel like watching a great movie.

Like all Narratively stories, we want Deep Dives to be human (focused on a compelling character or characters); narrative (full of vivid, active scenes); and untold (something that hasn't been covered much by other publications). What sets these articles apart is the particularly ambitious reporting, whether in the form of historical research, on-the-ground reporting or both.

Before pitching, please take the time to read some of our best and most successful Deep Dives:

The Curse of the Ship of Gold: How a brilliant scientist went from discovering a mother lode of treasure at the bottom of the sea to fleeing from authorities with suitcases full of cash.

Jannie Duncan: “Beautiful Human” or Fugitive Killer?: She was imprisoned for murdering her husband, then escaped and assumed a new identity. Her adoring friends and employers had no idea.

The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket: The author's dad was one of the only people with a good-for-life, go-anywhere American Airlines pass. Then they took it away. This is the true story of having — and losing — a superpower.

For more stories, check out our Deep Dives section here

Please note that Deep Dives are not defined by how long they are, but how ambitious the reporting and storytelling is. We're looking for robust pitches here, with some pre-reporting/research already complete, plus an outline of how you plan to finish the reporting. 

Narratively