Love in the Time of Trunk Stories

If you follow the field at all, every now and then you’ll hear disparaging remarks about something called a “trunk story.” An editor for a new magazine or anthology (or a new editor for an old magazine) will usually make it part of the submission guidelines: “Send me your best. I don’t want your trunk stories.” For the perhaps two of you at most who don’t know what that means, a trunk story is just one that hasn’t sold, and hasn’t sold in a persistent or dramatic fashion, to the point that the writer either loses confidence in it—if they ever had any—or simply, for want of another suitable market possibility, files it away. Sort of a “time out.” The “trunk” part was probably always metaphorical, unless one had enough manuscripts of that type that they required a physical trunk to contain them. Back in the days of paper subs, I found that a cardboard box worked just fine. Continue reading