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’re also currently looking for story ideas for a collaboration we're working on with Scott Free Productions, Psychological Sci-Fi (more on that 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.

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

If you remember cowering behind your popcorn while watching Alien or feeling that crushing sense of dread amid the dystopian landscape of Blade Runner, you’ve experienced the outsized impact of a masterful Ridley Scott movie. But one glimpse at the letters “AI” is a reminder that sci-fi is not all make-believe these days, and the truth, as we’re often told, is infinitely stranger than fiction. The fascinating intersection where truth collides with phenomena worthy of a Ridley Scott epic is a space we’re excited — and terrified! — to explore with none other than Ridley Scott himself and his film and television company, Scott Free Productions. We’ve teamed up with Scott Free’s nonfiction division to commission true stories under a theme we’re calling “Psychological Sci-Fi.” 

Sure, if you have a hot tip on an actual alien or you’d like to write a confessional about your secret life as an android, we’ll take it! But absent this sort of stop-the-presses bombshell, we’re a lot more intrigued by multi-layered and complex stories grounded in reality that are nevertheless unexplainable or difficult to comprehend and force us to question our understanding of self, our motivations or the world. Have you or your proposed subject experienced something deeply outside our norm that seems to defy logic? Are you prepared to unravel a shocking secret that has always been too outlandish to be real until you methodically substantiate the truth? We’re on the hunt for completely preternatural stories of feats, crimes, survival, death, connection, horror and the paranormal, so long as they thrust us into uncharted territory and leave us questioning everything we thought we knew about the world, the universe and ourselves. No small feat, we know, and that’s what excites us!   

Our ultimate goal is to publish stories that we can develop into documentaries or docuseries in tandem, so these narratives should have a highly visual element and come with unique access to the subject(s) — whether it’s those who lived these extraordinary experiences firsthand, or their family members, friends or experts who can offer an unparalleled and eye-opening perspective. As always, we’re open to memoir and reported stories.

Below are a few stories from the Narratively vault that might offer some inspiration, but don’t feel constrained by them! 

He’s a Murderer With an Intergalactic Alibi. And She’s in Love With Him

This is the story of a romance that just works — cosmic conspiracies, life sentences and all.

Journeys of a Psychic Army Spy

Trained by the U.S. military in the art of mentalist warfare, a clandestine intelligence agent travels the world and unlocks state secrets, all without leaving his desk chair.

Believable Podcast, S1E2: This Is What's Going To Happen

Stephanie was pregnant with her second child when she started having disturbing premonitions. Everyone wrote them off, including her husband, Jonathan. And then things got strange.

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

Pitches Due: Monday, April 29.

"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.