Tag Archives: Helen McClory

Spotlighting Another Giant of Short Prose: Wigleaf

24 Apr

On Market Monday I’m turning over an old leaf.

Apologies for skipping Market Monday last week—I was hosting my big sister from Saturday to Saturday, and wanted to devote all my attention to her. Today’s market is worth two Mondays, I promise, so take special note!

I mentioned in my post on Cleaver Magazine that I have now covered all my favorite publishers of very short fiction. I turned the spotlight on Wigleaf in December, when I gushed about this model micro by Deb Olin Unferth. But I haven’t done the standard, thorough, Market Monday post on Wigleaf, so I’m filling in that gap now.

Do I like what they publish? This is another magazine that offers a wide range of voices, so most of us will find work here that we admire. In addition to Unferth’s delightful micro, I am completely in love with “Companion,” by Helen McClory, a story I have been meaning to highlight in a Fiction Friday post (somehow Fridays never seem to dawn these days in DailyShortyLand, but soon, soon). And try this more recently published plain-faced, monotone, dry-voiced story by Ashley Hutson, “Advancements,” a piece that held me spellbound in a way I can’t explain, which might be my favorite kind of happy reaction to a story.

Do they do justice to the published work? For me, Wigleaf’s is the rare site that functions so well as a direct entry to the work itself that I almost don’t even notice the aesthetics, and yes, that’s a compliment. When you click a link on the homepage, the story comes up in a different background color, totally set off from the page and contained in its own window. This has the same power to grab my full attention as opening a book, a rare thing to encounter on a website. They also publish from some of their authors quirky “Dear Wigleaf” bits that serve as a kind of “PS” to the published flash, which is a nice way to add interest to the story. And they bring an enormous amount of attention to their site (and therefore anyone published there) by annually selecting their favorite 50 flashes published online—check out their archives for all their lists.

Do their guidelines speak to me? “Impossible to say what we’re looking for,” they write, which is amply supported by, again, the wide range of voices they publish. I am most attracted by sites that either explicitly invite weirdness in their guidelines or put out an “All are welcome” sign, and Wigleaf has done the latter. They take up to 1000 words in a story, and allow 3 stories in one submission.

Wigleaf is another member of shorty royalty. If you have a strong interest in very short prose, you must become familiar with their site, and don’t hesitate to send along your best pieces. They take submissions in the final week of each academic month (excluding December) then take a break in May, June, and July. Which means you have, what, 6 days before their next break starts, so get going!