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Week 110 – Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Another change for week 110 so I’ll get on with the reviews and then explain myself.

We had a mix of horror, markets, a ‘legal’ killing, a fishing technique and a town’s history.

Only one new person this week. As usual, our initial comments follow.

On Monday we had third time returning author Raymond Hopkins. He was first of the week with ‘Flea Market

‘Raymond is a writer who has his own style.’

‘It is the voice that makes this story.’

‘I enjoyed this, so amusing.’


Ben DeValve was the said new author. We wish him all the best and hope he has fun on site.

The Festival‘ was next up on Tuesday.

‘A really good tale.’

‘Well put together and an entertaining read.’

‘The reader had a sense of unease from the start.’


On Wednesday we had another treat from James Hanna. His short ‘The Siege‘ broke the back of the week.

‘I’m reading a James Patterson at the moment, James story beats it hands down.’

‘This author is a find! He can write and what he writes is always interesting.’

‘Really good and realistic dialogue.’


There is no introduction needed for Thursday. The talented and quirky Leila Allison / JC Freeman was next up with ‘A Journey Begun In Lovers Meeting

‘This is really rather beautiful.’

‘Too good to pass on.’

‘Another wonderful story from a very talented writer.’


And just like Thursday, there is no need to introduce the very productive Mr Tom Sheehan (more on him later). He finished off the week for us. ‘The Lobster That Wouldn’t Sleep‘ was our story on Friday.

‘An absolutely wonderful beautifully told story.’

‘We had sadness, tragedy, comedy and wisdom, I loved it.

‘I enjoyed the whole feel of this excellent realistic story.’


And now for something completely different. We have a collaboration this week folks.

My fellow editor has some very interesting facts for you. Nik knows it all. How many alphabets the Welsh language uses, how many words Tom Sheehan has written, how many stories Adam Kluger has submitted, how many comments June and Doug have made, how many positive adjectives Fred has received, how real are James Hanna’s stories, how many glasses of wine Diane has of a morning, how proud and privileged we are to work with all these writers, he knows it all. Even to how many swear words I have used.

Now Mr Eveleigh stated to me once, not that long ago, that Nerdness is the new rock n’ roll…And I hate to admit it, he has a point. Never has so much geekdom been cool and relevant and I tip my hat to that..I don’t fecking understand it, not the fact, just the whole of technology etc.

I think the brilliance of Jim Parsons and co has opened our eyes to knowledge, bullying and acceptance of the uncool becoming cool! (Like Jimmy Dean with a doctorate.) Maybe even a touch of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce before them opened a door ever so slightly!

But this got me thinking on the original geek, who was it? There is a case for Sherlock or Van Helsing but I don’t think that they had their geek on. They were well educated but Sherlock was out his tits and Van Helsing, well he was a metaphor for penicillin! (Or the need for it as some of our more narrow minded bible-bashers may believe). So even though they were geek-like they were acceptably cool.

Nik mentioned rock n’ roll so we could mention Thomas Dolby who went from being blinded by science with Magnus Pike to toad liking and that makes him really cool. Magnus Pike had really long arms, he would have done well in some sort of gynaecology or giraffe veterinary but not music, his guitar would have been at his ankles.

A lot of Rock N’ Rollers were very intelligent people except Bieber who isn’t Rock N’ Roll and isn’t a geek, he is simply a see you next Tuesday.

But who was the original, well I may be a bit out there but I think there are obvious reasons that we could say Brain from Thunderbirds. That is an obvious choice. He was clever and wore big glasses. Unfortunately we cannot associate any male geek with having wood all the time, they’d have had no need for it.  So I reckon we should bomb him out. My winner would be Velma from Scooby Doo. She always knew what he would do and what had to be done. And when you saw her being played by Linda Cardellini, well Brain might have had a point!!


So now over to my good friend and interesting Fact Meister Mr Nik Eveleigh…


Thanks Hugh. Before I start I can quickly answer a couple of your questions, as I know you’re desperate to find out. Wales technically has two alphabets – the standard boring English one and the Welsh one which has no k,q,v or z but still has 29 letters. Tom Sheehan has submitted nearly 50,000 more words than any other contributor to the site with a whopping total of 129,524 (although interestingly he does not lead the pack in terms of number of stories submitted – that honour falls to our very own Tobbe Haglund with 61). Adam Kluger has raised his bat with a solid 50, comments and adjectives will be have to wait for the next installment from me (because I need to plug directly into WordPress for that) and my data visualisation software crashed when calculating your profanity ratios. James Hanna’s stories are as real as your imagination decides and measuring Diane’s wine intake of a morning may lead to questions about my own so I shall abstain (a phrase you seldom hear dropping from my wine-soaked lips).

As for being proud and privileged? Immeasurably so.

So yes, I am the resident data nerd. Part of my working life involves analysing and visualising data to create things like this…


and this…


…so it didn’t take too much persuasion for me to start digging around in our master submissions spreadsheet to see what I could find out. The trouble is…where to start…

I mean, I could tell you we have now received, read, discussed and replied to 1309 stories totaling 2,146,589 words from 577 different authors.

Or I could mention that we haven’t had a month with less than 50 submissions in the last year and the numbers are climbing.

When we started in 2014, 30% of the submissions came from the five members of the editing team. In 2016 we contributed fewer than 5% and so far in 2017 we’re down close to 2%.

This is probably the most telling statistic in terms of how much the site really is all about the authors.

Maybe some genre facts would grab you.

Did you know…Science Fiction, at 53.33%, has the highest acceptance rate of any genre?

(Romance is languishing in last place with a strike rate of only 20.51%).

Even the days of the week have a statistical story to tell

For some bizarre reason stories submitted on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays statistically seem to have a much better chance of success. Those three days all have a success rate of about 45% (the rest are under 40%)

…and Saturday is 34% so clearly there’s a lot of drunk Friday night editing going on in the writing world…

The thing about data is that you can make it tell any story you want. So that’s precisely what I’d like to do. For those of you who read this slot regularly you’ll know that Hugh has a recurring theme – perseverance. Keep writing. Keep trying. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

Over 70% of the authors who have submitted to LS have done so…ONCE.

Over TWO HUNDRED AUTHORS have sent us a story, been rejected and never submitted to us again…

…which, considering what a lovely bunch of people we are makes us quite sad. But it highlights what Hugh keeps saying about perseverance.

Our acceptance rate over the years sits at just over 40%. That’s including pieces the editors themselves submit. Worse odds than a coin flip.

Editorial team fact: we have collectively combined for over 60 rejections from LS.

Take two excellent authors we mentioned earlier:-

Tom Sheehan has had 15 stories rejected by us…

Adam Kluger has had 23 rejections…

And yet they persevere, and keep submitting and have given us some of the finest short stories we’ve had the privilege and pleasure to publish.

I hope you’ve had some fun with the numbers and I think I can safely say on behalf of the rest of the editors, we can’t wait for the extra workload as the submissions continue to grow. Thanks for making LS such a statsworthy place!

Oh, and as an extra thank you from me…you might want to think about writing a sci-fi story of between 500 and 1000 words. Maybe submit it on a Friday too, just to be safe…


Cheers Nik. After all that statistical stuff, I think I’ll go for A Big Bang while thinking of Velma!!!


Nik and Hugh.

Note: All data visualisations were created using Tableau and will (hopefully) soon be interactive, prettier and available on the web…

14 thoughts on “Week 110 – Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”

  1. Some interesting figures to ponder here… I don’t like the idea of being part of the 70% of authors who have only submitted a story to the site once, so I will have to make it a priority to submit again soon! It’s also encouraging to me as a novice writer to hear how many rejections some very good writers have received too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you are keen to break out of that particular statistic – looking forward to reading your next submission 🙂 Rejection is part and parcel of the process of writing but it’s also not necessarily reflective of the merit of a piece. Sometimes it just isn’t a good fit, or a similar theme has been presented by another writer who got in a week early. It’s a very inexact science it seems (at least that’s how I rationalise my own past, present and future rejections!)


    2. If you stick to your determination Rebecca and others follow suit, we may get that statistic down…Or will we? How many would we need as acceptances to get the averages down? And will we ever be able to move the stats up to a level that is down?
      I’m just doing this to see if Nik will answer!!!
      But all joking aside, this was what it was all about. We wanted to explain and show what we were all about and hopefully inspire!!!
      Looking forward to your next submission!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant work. My doctor once found me “quirky” and suggested that I should vacation where the sunsets are pretty and the Thorazine is plentiful. But that’s another tale. Speaking of graphs, I have discovered that JC Freeman has an eleven percent acceptance rate world wide, while Leila Allison has never been rejected by anyone. True story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember having a 100% acceptance rate across the board in my first year of submissions. This, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that I was submitting to a site that published everything is received…

      Long may Leila’s perfect record continue 🙂


  3. The truth has made me free. I am grateful for what has been given but hunger for more. It is amazing ( and crazy-uplifting) to me that my stories from the Cdn prairies have found a home on LS. (Other UK sites too!) Especially since when I read others’ stories on LS my secret inside voice tells me to fold my prose tent and buy a shitload of watercolours and brushes.

    Thx for the stats. I will continue to give LS a high priority; will continue to try to stretch out and climb further from basecamp and will always see Literally Stories as a no-BS journal that shows it *really* respects writers because it responds QUICKLY.

    – Mitch

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your support Mitch – we really appreciate it. I’m also endlessly fascinated as to where stories can end up and I think we share a similar secret voice (although mine would probably instruct me to take up reading having seen my efforts with one of those colouring books for grown ups).

      Very glad that you’ll continue to submit stories to us but also that you’ll continue to branch out and explore other avenues – it’s important I think for all of us to constantly stretch ourselves.

      I think I can safely speak on behalf of all of the editors when I say that your final comment about us respecting writers means a great deal. This whole place is a labour of love and I’m glad our efforts translate into the kind of place we hoped it would be.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Having had my first submission accepted within a few days, I thought I may be on to something. But three “really sorry to advise you” follow-ups in succession sent me crashing back to earth. I am more determined than ever to improve on my .250 batting average before I am sent down to the minor leagues. As an aside, I have been informed by a close colleague that any attempts to bribe Hugh with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle will not be tolerated. Wink. Wink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well if Hugh can’t be swayed there’s always me or Diane Fred… 😉

      From memory I think every one of your submissions has been a split decision so I doubt the minor leagues will need to grab you. Looking forward to reading more of your work and it’s great to read a determined comment.


    1. That kind of money would be tough to drop to after getting used to the luxuries provided by a third world currency and a bad writing habit, but I could probably cope…


  5. Overall my acceptance rate is fairly high, but I admit I have gone to places that take everything, but I tried to do it in moderation and not get hooked. If Duotrope say 0 – .5% acceptance or 200 days for a response, I’m probably not going there. Nugget Tales was my go to and as I mentioned that in “Amateur the Sequel”, they quit taking more admissions. As much as I’d like to flood LS, I’ve only got two stories available.


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