Saturday, January 30, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Twenty-Two Great Magazines That Don't Accept Online Submissions

Once upon a time I wouldn't even consider submitting to a literary magazine online. I loved the tactile nature of the acceptance (or, much much more often, the rejection slip).

Not that I ever went full Leon Barlow, plastering the rejections all over as bathroom wallpaper to fuel my drive, I just liked having the physical paper, almost like it was proof that I tried.


Fear of Rejection:

By now, I hope, everyone reading this has either gotten over their fear of being rejected or were able to embark upon the publishing pathway somehow extra thick-skinned, but just in case anyone out there has any worry about being 'rejected' just know that most magazines receive so much work that they couldn't publish it all if they wanted to. They couldn't publish a tenth of what they get and sometimes it's closer to 1/500th. If a bi-annual journal only publishes say ten poems each issue, and they receive 1000 submissions a month, they'd need 600 years to publish one year's worth of submitted poems.

Even good poems get rejected every day, sometimes for uncontrollable reasons like a similar piece had already been accepted for that issue or there was a rash of amazing poems submitted a month before which makes it even more difficult to get your poem published then and there.

We good? Everyone ready to research and submit their hearts out?

So let's talk about the good things about snail mail submissions, also known as hard copy submissions or postal submissions. There's only one, really, but it's the joy of opening that acceptance letter. When I got my first acceptance to The Southern Review I started jumping up and down right there at the mailbox battery of our apartment complex startling the other mail-opening residents. It's like an unexpected Christmas present.

Back when I was annotating every inch of Poet's Market there were very few journals that took online submissions, but now you're hard-pressed to find journals that still rely on the good old Postal Service to transport your words. Of course there are negatives inherent with postal submissions namely being the chance of loss along the way. You can include a SASP (self addressed and stamped postcard) for notification of receipt to ensure that the journal did receive your submission in addition to the SASE for their response, but then you're spending even more on postage. However, it would've saved me some trouble this past year when I submitted a story to a journal that shall remain nameless (but is on the list) that doesn't accept online submissions or simultaneous submissions resulting in a story of mine being completely out of the submission cycle for nearly nine months before I contacted the journal only to discover they never received it.


What You Need:

If you're not familiar with postal submissions here's a quick breakdown of how to do it. You will need four things:

  • a 9x11" manila envelope, 
  • a standard sized envelope addressed to yourself with regular first class postage (a forever stamp works just dandy for the SASE), 
  • your writing with a cover letter (include page numbers and a header with your contact information on each page, paper clip multiple-page pieces as opposed to stapling them), 
  • and to take a trip to the post office to make sure you have the proper postage. If you wanna risk a return, you can use the USPS postage calculator, but you might as well just work a quick trip to the post office into your day, you get exact postage and it goes right out.


22 Literary Magazines That Don't Read Online Submissions:

Alaska Quarterly Review: Almost to its 35th anniversary, this long-running journal from the University of Alaska Anchorage publishes an eclectic mix of masters and unknown writers, though perhaps a little heavier on the well known writers. One especially nice aspect of AQR is their poetry guidelines only specify a number of pages which, as a writer of short poems, I really appreciate.

The Antioch Review: Founded way back in 1941 at Antioch College in Ohio, this journal is the second oldest on the list. It frequently publishes pieces that will later go on to win prizes or be featured in prize-winning collections.

Apalachee Review: Apalachee Press is a non profit from Tallahassee that has been publishing the review for over a decade and still going strong.

Arroyo Literary Review: The youngest of our non-electronic submission journals (anti-snail mail submission? Hard-copy only submissions?) this journal is produced by California State- East Bay and claims each issue "reflects the creative diversity found in the San Francisco Bay Area literary scene, while bringing together material from an international array of poets, writers, and artists."

Blue Collar Review: A "Journal of Progressive Working Class Literature" from Partisan Press. As you might expect from the name, this is a solid no frills journal.

California Quarterly: The California State Poetry Society's journal, generally a slim volume but perfect bound. I had a poem called "How can I explain this so that you'll understand" in their Vol.34 Is.1 along with among others, the great Hal Sirowitz, and another poem in an earlier issue.

The Cape Rock: The literary journal from Southeast Missouri State University is in its fifteenth year of publication and continues to put out quality, slim issues that are perfect bound. I was lucky enough to have my poem "Stepping Onto a Curb in the Fall" in their Winter 2015 issue.

Conduit: Publishing for over twenty years they're a unique and eclectic journal that continues to publish some of my favorite writers, their newest issue has Charles Harper Webb, Bob Hicok and G.C. Waldrep among others.

Confrontation: Published out of the English department at Long Island University this journal has been around for almost fifty years and is still going strong.

Conjunctions: Published out of Bard College, Conjunctions has the distinction of topping Clifford Garstang's Pushcart Prize Fiction Rankings.

Gettysburg Review: Since their inception in 1988 they've published more than a hundred stories essays and poems that were reprinted in prize anthologies (like Pushcart, Best Americans,
PEN/O.Henry etc.) and they're a staple among lit mags.

Hanging Loose: I was first drawn to Hanging Loose scouring the acknowledgements pages of some of my favorite writers, namely Denise Duhamel. They like witty writing but are relatively eclectic and have separate guidelines for high school student's submissions.

Hudson Review: (accepts online submissions of fiction only) Founded in 1948, The Hudson Review has published and continues to publish the biggest names in literature.

Lake Effect: Lake Effect is another college affiliated journal out of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College that is celebrating its 15th year in 2016.

North Dakota Review: This long-running magazine out of the University of North Dakota was founded in 1910 but has lapsed in the past. It has been going strong for decades now and has a high standard of excellence.

Paris Review: Founded in 1953, The Paris Review is certainly in a class of elite journals that are consistently publishing tremendous work and are also inundated with thousands of submissions a month, perhaps every week, so know that competition is especially keen.

Santa Monica Review: Santa Monica Review was founded in 1988 at Santa Monica College and while they do publish writers from all over the world, they make an effort to publish writers from southern California.

Sewanee Review: Continually published since 1892, yes, that is not a mistake, 1892, not 1992. The journal refrains from glitz and glamour, always a simple cover listing what is in the issue, but don't let that fool you, they put out extremely solid work in each issue.

The Southern Review: (accepts online submissions of fiction only) Founded in 1935 The Southern Review is one of the premiere literary magazines continually publishing quality work from the biggest names and unknowns as well.

Sow's Ear Poetry Review: A small journal that's been running for over 25 years and still going strong. This journal is saddle stapled and 8x10 as opposed to more book-sized journals.

Zoetrope: All Story: A short fiction journal begun by Francis Ford Coppola, Zoetrope publishes the best of the best names in short fiction. One quirk about this journal is that each issue publishes a classic short story that had inspired a film, and they also require a one-year film option with all published stories.

Zyzzyva: The last word of west coast writers, Zyzzyva touts a "distinctly San Francisco point of view" and publishes lots of traditional and quirky work, oftentimes with a good sense of wit.

Ready, Set, Submit!:

As with any submission, do your best to familiarize yourself with the magazine before blindly sending out your work. Sending work to a journal where it clearly doesn't fit wastes everyone's time and your postage.

Weekend Triple Threat: Title, Five Random Constraints, Inspired by

Since it's Sunday here are three options for today's exercise. Choose one, choose them all, just be sure to produce something.

Title Mania (use the following title and write a piece to somehow fit it.)

Lifting Off


Five Random Constraints (About today's writing prompt genre: This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. The purpose of this is to make you meditate on specific word choices and sentence structure and elements not necessarily the most important plot points or character traits which should allow the piece to unfold in a way that it would not have otherwise..)

1) Include at three sentences that are three words or fewer.
2) The story or poem must be no more than 250 words.
3) At least four sentences/lines must end in the letter K.
4) The following words must appear at least once: Turf, Germane, Fletch, Elevate, Spike.
5) At least three sentences/lines must use three or more long /E/ sounds (we, see, beach etc).


Inspired by (take at least one element from the following short piece and utilize it in your own piece. Think of your piece as the pearl that is formed around that one element, or the snowman base that comes from the little snowball you discovered. This can be a single word, a place, a time of day, an object or image or even just the voice/tone of the piece.)

Acorn Truths by Lauri Rose in Microfiction Monday 41st edition (the piece in question is the fourth piece in the issue/post)

The extended metaphor of deer feeding serves this piece extremely well, and a vast amount of meaning is conveyed over a very small of words (in this case, 96). There are a lot of great bits you can snag and use to serve as the basis for your own piece. The movement is pretty classic for a short story despite its short length, and acorns are so rich (pardon the pun) in imagery that there are so many ways to take this I don't even know where to begin.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekend Triple Threat: Title, Three Things, Inspired by

Since it's Sunday here are three options for today's exercise. Choose one, choose them all, just be sure to produce something.

Title Mania (use the following title and write a piece to somehow fit it.)

A Missing Section



Three Things (somehow use the following three things in a piece of short prose or poetry.)

A Kilt, Creedence Clearwater Revival, A Choco Taco


Inspired by (take at least one element from the following short piece and utilize it in your own piece. Think of your piece as the pearl that is formed around that one element, or the snowman base that comes from the little snowball you discovered. This can be a single word, a place, a time of day, an object or image or even just the voice/tone of the piece.)

The Facts of Turquoise by Kat Finch from elsewhere magazine.

The idea of obsessing over something to an absurd degree after a personal tragedy is explored in this awesome piece by Kat Finch. I love the turn at the end of the poem, and don't want to ruin it in case someone is just glancing through this post. It's short, only 209 words so just give it a read already. It's the second piece of Finch's in elsewhere there. So whether you're taking the idea of obsessing over something you associate with someone who's passed, you're running with agates, turquoise, hard blackberries, or even just the idea of a narrow column justified prose poem/micro fiction, pick something from this awesome piece and use that as the starter for your own unique piece.

-
I wrote my own little flash fiction from the Three Things prompt, but I kind of want to polish it and send it out later, so I won't post it here, but if you'd like to see an example of how a prompt might come together shoot me a message and I'll send you a link to check it out.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Rhymebank exercise: Snip

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: Snip.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. There will be overlap with an earlier exercise. If you did that one try to pick brand new words. For each word and the original write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for Snip and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) In the spirit of snippets, for at least half of your sentences or lines, expand them by two-fold (a total of 3 sentences/lines for each word). Try to make each little three sentence/line snippet a full thought, if not a complete story. There's the traditional 'story' which has a beginning middle and end, there's the idea of hint fiction which is "a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story", there's vignette, and there are probably a bunch more, but those three concepts are plenty for this exercise.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least two of the snippets from #6. Three or more would be ideal. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rhymebank exercise: Wheat

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: Wheat.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. For each word and the original write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for Wheat and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) Pick a grain, any grain. This is a little more specialized. Look into the different types of grain and their cultivation and write down some interesting developments. If you can't find developments that seem interesting to you, maybe you should rethink your profession, being a writer is essentially being a freelance researcher, and you need to be able to see the interesting side of almost anything.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least two of the facts or quotes that you wrote down about grains. If you didn't write down two facts about grains you should certainly feel ashamed. Come on now, these plants are the basis of your life. Read. And try to utilize as many of the lines or sentences you have already written. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rhymebank exercise: Weep

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: Weep.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. For each word and the original write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for Weep and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) Somehow utilize a jeep in five different sentences, one including a toy jeep, one including a jeep on tv and the others however you want.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least one of the jeep lines that you wrote down, and try to utilize as many of the other lines or sentences you have already written. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.

(Highlight any lines or sentences or phrases that turned out especially good for later harvesting when a piece needs something).

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Rhymebank exercise: State

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: State.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. For each word and the original write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for State and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) Pick a state, any state. Write down the state's song, tree, bird and flower. Research at least two of the four and write down a bunch interesting facts/quotes, at least six.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least two of the facts or quotes that you wrote down, and try to utilize as many of the lines or sentences you have already written. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.


(Highlight any lines or sentences or phrases that turned out especially good for later harvesting when a piece needs something).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rhymebank exercise: Whip

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: Whip.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. For each word and the original write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for Whip and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) As Trip is a rhyme of Whip, take a look at this list of 100 places to visit before you die and pick one place. Spend a few minutes researching it and write down a couple interesting facts about the place.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least two of the facts you wrote down, and try to utilize as many of the lines or sentences you have already written. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.


(Highlight any lines or sentences or phrases that turned out especially good for later harvesting when a piece needs something).

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thank you to the awesome donor! (and a small rant about reading fees)

I just wanted to throw out a special shout out to the one person that has been extraordinarily generous enough to donate in appreciation for organizing and posting Zebulon's Guide to Flash Fiction Submissions. As promised, I used the money entirely for submissions. I didn't feel right about using the money for a contest submission as that would be almost all of it, so I only used a regular submission's worth for that, but I have a brand spanking new subscription coming my way now that I may not have gotten were it not for the donation, even $15 being unfortunately a hurdle at this point. I was bummed to have missed out on the Redivider Blurred Lines contest, despite my excitement about the cause, and do wish them all the best. But again, I wanted to be sure to at least send a gesture of gratitude into the maw. I very much appreciated the donation and it allowed me to send my writing to markets I might not otherwise have been able to reach because of financial circumstances.

(A small thing about Submittable—arguably the best thing to happen for writers in decades In no way should the following rant cast any shade on submittable, they are a terrific vendor and have a great blog as well that more people should follow. They are not at fault for providing multiple billing options, nor are journals for charging fees, kinda.)

Most of the journals that charge $3 for their reading fee insist that it isn't a reading fee, but that's a Ticketmaster argument, to be frank. The $1 option pays for the credit card and vendor fee, $2 will even cover the basic subscription fee as well as generating a little 'appreciation party' for the interns that still read heaps and heaps of your submissions for perhaps a little course credit and a closer relationship with the faculty. They deserve it. The editors deserve the ability to treat their tiny staffs to a couple lunches, a drink, a team-building round of gasoline-powered go-kart races. There is not nearly enough money thrown at the purveyors of contemporary literature. $2 is fine. I can spare $2 once or twice a week. There aren't very many journals that charge $2.

$3 is a reading fee. Claiming that it's similar to the cost of submitters' snail mail cost is missing the point entirely. Claiming that it pays for printing the electronic files are missing the point (save the trees, only print the final round, embrace the computer and phone for reading .doc files). It really belies the negatives I see in the current political climate, but I don't want to expand this rant like some Swiftian diversion in praise of diversions. Just because submitters are saving money thanks to a wonderful service does not mean that you adding the reciprocal charge to offset that savings deems it anything other than a reading fee.

No journals want to officially have a reading fee, because for a long time that was a red flag that the market was a vanity press. Pay me to print your work, poetry.com etc as opposed to the long-established peer review system that is generally at least claimed. Also, I understand that there needs to be a way to stop blanket submitters that throw their spaghetti poems at every possible wall regardless of its viability (based on guidelines, preferences/tastes). My favorite way is to limit people to one submission per period for free/$1/$2 and allow an option to submit again for a fee.

Some journals are active in helping writers avoid this fee. A couple methods I've seen are: editors responding to pieces that were near misses with codes for a free submission, subscribers being allowed to submit for free twice a year. One journal, I can't remember which, offered a $5 unlimited submission pass for the year. Some journals have offered feedback for a small 'tip jar' fee. Some journals have a short period of free submissions and then read only 'tip jar' submissions the rest of the year. There are lots of options to help struggling writers being explored and to be explored. Especially for those markets that don't pay writers even if they print their work. Come on, guys, help a brother out.

(Any editors that happen to see this I'd love to hear your input/rant! And again, none of this should be interpreted as being anti-submittable. They rock. Hard. Also, all that said, I still love a large number of journals that charge $3 or even $4 for their submissions. There are tremendous journals that are using Submittable to help them shore up their budgets that might otherwise require a shorter journal or less art or cheaper paper. I get it. Just own it, that's all. And if your slush acceptance rate is extra low and you still charge $3+, realize that you're shifting the cost largely onto struggling, hopeful young writers. One dollar at a time you're sucking their livelihood out of them. Remember that.)

Rhymebank exercises: Filler

This week is a little different, unless you've been a reader of Notebooking Daily for awhile, in which case rhymebanks and wordbanks are familiar.

For today's Rhymbank exercise you will follow a series of steps and then produce a piece using some of the generated lines or phrases.

1) Take just a couple minutes and jot down/type all rhymes and slant rhymes (include phrases for multi-syllabic words/feminine rhymes) you can think of just off the top of your head for the word: Filler.
2) Pick three of those words you wrote down. For each word, and the original word write three poetic lines or sentences (12 total).
3) Pick two of those sentences/lines that do not use the word at the end and and rephrase it so that it is the last word in the line or sentence.
4) Look up more rhymes for Filler and pick a few that you hadn't thought of if you can. If there aren't any, pick two more from your list.
5) Write three poetic lines or sentences using two of the additional words (6 total).
6) Pick a person with the last name Miller and spend a few minutes reading about them (Obvious ones are Glenn, Arthur, Steve, Bode, Sienna etc). Write at least three interesting facts about that person.
7) Write a poem or flash fiction that includes at least two of the 'Miller' facts you wrote down, and try to utilize as many of the lines or sentences you have already written. Of course tweaking is both allowed and encouraged to make the lines and facts work, but don't be afraid of unexpected jumps or unintuitive leaps in topic or tone. Sometimes that jarring change produces a really great effect in the reader. Bonus points if you write a rhyming poem or a ghazal.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016