Today’s guest post is by lit addict, movie junkie, writer Emily Wenstrom.
A new generation of literary journals is taking advantage of technology to offer something fresh and creative to the literary journal scene. Here are five of my favorites, ranging from those with niche audiences to those with experimental approaches.
For the newbie
Don’t be intimidated by this literary magazine’s international reach—it’s earned a reputation for lending its pages to first-time published writers. Featuring poetry and short fiction, you can pay for print versions, but all content is available for free online. Visit Brittle Star.
For the sound geek
While your coworkers listen to their favorite jams, you can get your daily dose of writing straight from your headphones. This publication offers short stories in podcasts—read by the authors themselves. 433 is looking for “edgy, engaging stories about modern life—stories that work well when read aloud.” It accepts stories as long as eight minutes, but look to the zine’s title for the ideal length. Visit 433.
For the artiste
More than just short stories, 20×20 reads like an arts scene mashup. It features lovely black and white photography, poetry, short stories, and The Blender, where visual and written arts meet. Each issue’s art stems from designated meta words. Published artists receive a complimentary print issue and others can purchase one, but all content is available online for free in a slick magazine format. Visit 20×20.
For the anti-artist
More of a blog than literary journal, Beat to a Pulp publishes one piece of short pulp fiction (4,000 words or less) each week. It focuses on hard-boiled pulp, but also accepts action/adventure, westerns, sci-fi/fantasy, and horror/thriller. The content is very accessible, and the design suits the theme—a retro-pulp look. Visit Beat to a Pulp.
Short Fast and Deadly
For the extremist
If you’re looking for a challenge or just a quick booster shot of creative writing, this is your place. Short Fast and Deadly embraces the shrinking attention span with the tagline “No attention span? No problem.” Dubbing itself an eLit mag, it’s a place where “brevity reigns and the loquacious are sent to contemplate their sins in the rejection bin.” And did I mention the work they publish is short? No really, we’re talking super short. The maximum character count—not words, characters—is 420 for stories, 140 for poetry. So I hope you like Twitter. Expect heaping amounts of free-form from each monthly issue. Visit Short Fast and Deadly.
None of these suit your style? Good news—these listings are the tip of the Internet iceberg. There’s something out there for every taste and preference, so if you’re looking for something in particular, start searching! A great place to start your hunt is a directory like Duotrope.
What literary journals do you love that embrace the online experience? Let us know in the comments.
E. J. Wenstrom believes in complicated heroes, horrifying monsters, purple hair dye and standing to the right on escalators so the left side can walk. She writes dark speculative fiction for adults and teens, including her new release, a young adult dystopian novel titled Departures (August 10, 2021). When she isn’t writing fiction, E. J. Wenstrom is a regular contributor to DIY MFA and BookRiot, and co-hosts the Fantasy+Girl Podcast. Learn more at her website.