Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ranking Literary Magazines

Lincoln Michel, book editor at The Faster Times, has compiled a nice, ranked list of literary magazines. I thought this would be of interest to Flash Fiction Online readers and authors. Our readers occasionally read something of more than 1000 words in length and our writers have been known to accidentally write a 1001-word or longer story and would like to find a home for it.

Mr. Michel warned that his list was not based on his personal taste in literary magazines, but on reputation. He said:

It is based on the reputation of journals as I’ve gleaned them and related factors like distribution, contributors, pay rates and awards (especially Perpetual Folly’s very helpful Pushcart Prize Ranking). What publications would most impress an agent or editor? What magazines routinely crop up in the acknowledgements of new collections?


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Monday, February 1, 2010

Literary Magazines on Life Support

Mother Jones has an impassioned article by the editor of Virginia Quarterly Review, Mr. Ted Genoways, about the herding of America's stable of (usually) university-hosted literary magazines into postmodernism's most distant pasture...or off to the glue factory.

The author gives a 1930s heyday example of then Connecticut governor-elect and editor of Yale Review, Wilbur Cross, who continued editing the magazine while in office, publishing Aldous Huxley, Sherwood Anderson, Maxim Gorky, John Maynard Keynes, and Thomas Mann. All he had to do was "get up early" to handle the 500 submission the magazine received each year.

That bit of trivia is the springboard to the problem. Mr. Genoways' magazine now receives 15,000 submissions per year. The fault belongs to the economy, the evaporation of short fiction from mainstream periodicals, and most interestingly, writers. Most of those time-soaking 15,000 stories were submitted by authors insufficiently skilled to write at the level needed to sustain interest in literary magazines. Says Mr. Genoways:

You may be a precious snowflake, but if you can't express your individuality in sterling prose, I don't want to read about it.

(Snork.) In other words, it's better (and more economical) to receive 100 gems in the mail than 10,000 stones. Authors have become gutless, afraid to write about big issues. Says Mr. Genoways:

Stop being so damned dainty and polite. Treat writing like your lifeblood instead of your livelihood. And for Christ's sake, write something we might want to read.

Go here to read, "The Death of Fiction?" Take note also of the many comments following the story, including some responses by Mr. Galoways.

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