Category Archives: Literary Mags

6 Great Essays on Craft: Talking Plot, Sex Scenes, & More

1. Claire Rudy Foster’s “Considering the Sex Lives of Your Characters” for The Review Review

Allowing sex to take its proper place in a story adds the third dimension, a dimension of flesh, and sets the reader’s animal self twitching. Even the deliberate omission of sex begs the question: where did it go? Who are these comic characters, gleefully reassuring one another of their button-eyed innocence? It is possible to leave sexuality as an implicit force in the text, but suppressing it entirely does a disservice to both the reader and the story.  …

2. Emily Barton’s “Literary or Genre, It’s the Plot That Counts” for Literary Hub

We writers like to talk about elements of craft. Character, theme, setting, voice, point of view, language. But I seldom hear fellow writers talking about plot. When I first taught a seminar on non-traditional plot construction at NYU’s Graduate Writing Program, some students signed up because they hadn’t previously given the topic any thought. …

3. Alison Mattison’s “How to Write Coincidence the Right Way” for Literary Hub

One way to use coincidence and make it work is to have nothing turn on it. Coincidences feel illegitimate when they solve problems. If the story doesn’t benefit from the coincidence, it’s simply pretty and suggestive. Another way to make a coincidence work is to begin a story with it. Make it the reason there’s a story to tell in the first place. …

4. Bartleby Snopes’s Dialogue Writing Tips

One tendency people have when writing dialogue is to try to write everything exactly how it “sounds.” This often results in dialogue that sounds too slangy or forced. While you may know someone who says “like” after every other word or drops twelve “f-bombs” per sentence, this doesn’t translate well on the page. …

5. Linnie Greene’s In the Mines: A Craft Essay on Creative Nonfiction for Cleaver Magazine

In her MFA vs. NYC essay “The Invisible Vocation,” Elif Batuman argues that the classic maxims “Write what you know” and “find your voice” are sometimes damning, convincing writers that if they don’t know some sort of spectacular, novelistic trauma or oppression, their stories aren’t worth telling. …

6. Steve Almond’s “How to Write a Sex Scene: The 12-Step Program” for Utne

Nipples are tricky. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and shades. They do not, as a rule, look like much of anything, aside from nipples. So resist making dumbshit comparisons. …

Happy Writing!

things I’m tired of seeing in lit mag submissions

As a reader for two different magazines and an indie book publisher…I couldn’t agree more with Bartleby Snopes editor Nathaniel Tower. If you’re a writer and/or editor, definitely give this a read.

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Guest post by Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine managing editor Nathaniel Tower

An editor of a literary magazine has to put up with a fair amount. Among the struggles we must face on our daily quest for literary greatness is repetition. I’m not simply talking about the monotony of reading submissions. Rather, I’m referring to the fact that, at times, it feels like every submission is exactly the same.

When lit mag editors are asked what frustrates them the most about submissions, the responses are typically the same: submissions that don’t follow guidelines, submissions riddled with typos, submissions with a blatant disregard for the aesthetic (whatever the hell that means) of the lit mag in question.

As a lit mag editor, these aren’t the things that bother me the most. Writers who don’t follow guidelines are the easiest to reject. They waste the least amount of my time. What, you didn’t use the…

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Interview with George Filipovic, Co-editor of “One Throne Magazine”

“Literary fiction isn’t always dull, SFF can be poetic, and poetry doesn’t have to be impenetrable. There are so many cliques in literature, and each seems to make wildly inaccurate assumptions about the other. I want to run a different kind of literary magazine and open people’s eyes.”

–George Filipovic, Co-Editor of One Throne Magazine

 

Check out this terrific interview with One Throne editor, George Filipovic. There’s not only a lot of useful/enlightening information here about a young, strong (free!) literary magazine, but also some great arguments for reading beyond our regional biases and checking out authors we might not have considered before.

Great post, Geosi Reads, and thank you!

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Geosi Reads

Photo: George Filipovic Photo: George Filipovic

Brief Biography:

George Filipovic is the co-editor of One Throne Magazine, which he founded at Dawson City, Yukon in 2014. The magazine publishes all genres and writers from all nationalities. In its first year, two of One Throne’s stories were named “Notable” by two Best American anthologies (Best American Essays and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy). Another story was subsequently made the first chapter of a novel that was bought by HarperCollins India. The magazine has published short fiction written by a 2014 Caine Prize finalist, other short fiction by a 2014 Shirley Jackson Award finalist, and poems from each of the joint-winners of the 2015 Brunel African Poetry Prize. One Throne prides itself on probably being the most diverse literary magazine on the planet. Most issues carry writing from at least three continents, with women and minority groups equitably represented.

Geosi Gyasi: You practiced law in your hometown, Toronto, before leaving for the…

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Fresh Summer Reads

You guessed it! The latest issue of Cleaver Magazine is out in style. Issue 14 is one of my personal favorites so far with some very odd, off-the-wall pieces that leave me pumped full of energy.

Here are just a few highlights to get you warmed-up:

First, Judith Schaechter’s glass art (see featured image above for an example from this issue) is basically some of the coolest, creepiest, most painfully lovely work I’ve seen in a long, long time. Check out more of her art in “The Stigma of Beauty, The Stain of Glass.” LOVE! –Also, her essay discussing her work is just freaking awesome:

I am fairly certain that many people experience my pieces kind of like this: Judith Schaechter is an artist who makes images in stained glass of anguished women set against highly decorative backgrounds. People often see my works all at once as a group — presented in a show or reproduced in an article — but to me, each piece is vastly different and each one arose over long periods of time. But yeah, I get it: anguished women and lush, decorative backgrounds. …


BIRCH WATERS
by Meg Pendoley

(short story; emerging artist; the characters here just rock)

The three older women are buckled into the bench seat under a fleece blanket printed with howling wolves. Jess is in the driver’s seat, smoking out the window. Davi walks up next to Beth. Jess’s black hair is buzzed short and she’s got one heavy boot braced against the dashboard behind the steering wheel, her knee cocked halfway out the window. The truck is already covered in dirt, so it doesn’t really matter that she’s stamping mud all over the broken vent. Jess is wearing tan cut-off overalls and one nipple keeps nudging out. …


IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE END
by Evan Anderson

(flash fiction; love, love, love this author’s work–so glad we landed this piece!)

No one really expected the world to end like this. For one thing, it took too damn long. People want bad things to happen like a pulled-off Band-Aid rather than the slow pushing of a knife. Instead, this is how it happened …


THE WHOLE DAMN LOVELY THING
by Melissa Goode

(short story)

Hannah made a cherry pie, and it relaxed her. Only when she was carrying the pie from her house to the neighbor’s, still warm in its tin, did she think it might be inappropriate for a barbecue. She should have brought a six-pack of beer, or some cheese and crackers, because a barbecue probably did not even make it to dessert. In any case, it was too late. Amy had come to her front door to let in a couple of people and spotted Hannah walking up the drive. …


HOMMAGE À MACK SENNETT
by Kathleen Rooney

(flash fiction)

The nightgown in the painting crosses genres: detective and farce. It has a partial body—breasts—but not a face. You could say it’s peekaboo. You could say it’s diaphanous. Either way, it reminds Georgette of how her husband uses recurring motifs to create a story, or at least a semi-story, for a story full of holes is a story full of mystery, a mystery like lace. …


ANGELS HAVE CORDONED OFF SECTIONS OF MOUNT SINAI
by John Harvey

(poem; LOVE this piece!)

Say nothing of this to the doctors of Geneva,
to the folks who rock back and forth
on front porches down in Key West,
or the old woman dreaming of Palestine …

Happy Reading! Happy Writing!

Literary Magazines with Fast Response Times, Part I

*Updated 9/7/16

Here’s a short list of literary magazines who have stellar, super-fast response times to submissions:

Betwixt Magazine

Submission Period: April 1st – May 31st

Genres Accepted: Speculative Fiction

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions, but they are dedicated to getting back to their submitters within 2 weeks.

Nightmare Magazine

Submission Period: June 1st – June 15th

Genres Accepted: Horror & Dark Fantasy

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions, but they do promise to get back to you between 2 days to 2 weeks.

Bartleby Snopes

Submission Period: Rolling

Genres Accepted: Fiction

Response Rate: They accept simultaneous submissions, but not multiple submissions (you must wait at least 30 days before submitting a new piece to them). They get back to their submitters between 3-7 days.

One Throne

Submission Period: Rolling

Genres Accepted: Fiction

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions (you must wait at least 30 days before submitting a new piece to them). However, they do get back to their submitters within a week.

Shimmer Magazine

Submission Period: Currently Open

Genres Accepted: Speculative Fiction (no poetry)

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions, but they are dedicated to getting back to their submitters within 2 weeks.

Apex Magazine

Submission Period: Currently Closed

Genres Accepted: SF&F, Horror, and Speculative (prose and poetry)

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions, but they get back to their writers within a month.

Threepenny Review

Submission Period: Open January – June

Genres Accepted: Literary Fiction

Response Rate: They don’t accept simultaneous or multiple submissions, but they strive to get back to their submitters within a week.

Adroit Magazine

Submission Period: Currently Closed

Genres Accepted: Fiction & Poetry

Response Rate: They accept simultaneous and multiple submissions, and promise to get back to their submitters within a month.

Blue Monday Review

Submission Period: Currently Open; closes on 9/9/16

Genres Accepted: Fiction (style inspired by Kurt Vonnegut)

Response Rate: If you’re willing to pay $8 for an expedited submission (as well as some very useful, professional feedback on any submissions that aren’t accepted), they’ll get back to you within 2 weeks.

Palooka

Submission Period: Currently Open

Genres Accepted: Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, & Graphic Narratives

Response Rate: They accept simultaneous and multiple submissions, and they’re dedicated to get back to their submitters within 2 weeks.

Cease, Cows

Submission Period: Currently Open; closes 11/15/16

Genres Accepted: Flash Fiction

Response Rate: If you’re willing to pay $3 or $4 for an expedited submission (depending on how fast you want things expedited), they accept simultaneous and multiple submissions, and will get back to their paying submitters within a week.

 

Click here for Part II of this list*

 

Happy Submitting!

Good News & Great Writers

Plenty of beautiful spring weather here in Baltimore, as well as plenty of great news!

51Q7MRxaY6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_First, let me start by saying that I’m not including myself in the “Great Writers” portion of this post’s title. Rather, I’m referring to some amazing artists who I’ve only just discovered thanks to H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam’s anthology Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up to No Goodas well as to the terrific new publication Witch Craft Magazine.

In Nelson and Merriam’s anthology, they’ve got some classic, big league writers like Aimee Bender and Joyce Carol Oates as well as some less-well-known but undoubtedly terrific authors like xTx (here’s her website) and Andrea Kneeland (here’s an interview with her). Definitely worth reading and then rereading!

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In Witch Craft Magazine (issue one; I haven’t yet received my copy of issue two), I was thrilled to find story after story and poem after poem that I simply loved. I fancy myself as a rather picky reader, but the entire first issue struck me as a precious gem. Authors I’m now particularly excited about thanks to this issue are: Chelsea Laine Wells, Nicola Maye Goldberg, and Anna Lea Jancewicz.


Now, on to more of the good news (drum roll, please; thank you–alright, that’s enough! End drum roll already!):

I’m thrilled to announce that my story “The Spyglass” will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Cease, Cows and that my flash fiction story “Shelf Space” has just gone live in the latest issue of Literary Orphans!

Here’s a little teaser of “The Spyglass”:

I always felt empty as a kid, and some nights I feared I might wake up on the ceiling, floating like a hollow barrel on a dark sea. My Aunt Theo often tried cheering me up, but it wasn’t until I happened upon one of her secrets that it finally did any good.

And a little teaser of “Shelf Space”:

And though Rose’s moods and body soon recovered and returned to normal, her newfound connection to the fridge only ever intensified. …

 

Happy Reading & Happy Writing, everyone!

New Publication!

I am so proud that my short story “The Slide” has finally found its niche. I wrote this short story while working with The Roving Writings in Pittsburgh, and it’s gone through several major shifts before finding its way home.

Check it out now with Litro Magazine!

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Hungry for a taste? Here’s the teaser:

My left eye was sliding down the side of my face, drooping like an almond in a half-melted candy bar.

First, I reminded myself not to scream.

 

Happy Reading and, as always, Happy Writing!