Tag Archives: The Best Small Fictions

Cleaver Magazine Wants Your Flash

3 Apr

Market Monday’s got me racing through the digital litworld with A CLEAVER!

I found Cleaver Magazine in one of the Best Small Fictions anthologies but hadn’t checked it out until tonight. As of last week, I’ve covered my entire list of favorite very-short-fiction publishers in my Market Monday and Fiction Friday posts. Now I’m slowly working through unexplored journals on my long list, and as I find one I want to submit to myself, I’ll spotlight it here. Tonight I read the work of five journals that didn’t spark my interest. Then I landed at Cleaver Magazine.

The disadvantage of my current approach is that I might not have time to fully investigate the richness a site offers before I have to write it up. And this is definitely one of those times—mea culpa, but don’t let my flagging resources stop you from jumping in over there. In addition to art and all the usual genres, the site offers interviews, craft essays, book reviews, an editors’ blog, an advice column, travel essays, a podcast, and … *wait for it* … radio plays! Can I personally recommend each of these features? No I cannot, not yet. Am I going to romp around that site, sampling everything they’ve got, as soon as I have a bit more time? Hell yes.

Do I like what they publish? This is another journal to celebrate for the wide range of voices represented in their flash. The power of Nadia Laher’s low-key “Snake” sneaks up on you, Kaitlyn Burd’s delightful “Fictitious Forces” feels like it was born of the urge to reassemble a family of words in a new place, in a different order, with more color, and I’m plain in love with the indescribable “Seven Pieces” by Karen Donovan.

Do they do justice to the published work? I love the art paired with each story, which makes the flash feel so well tended. And some of my reading tonight reminded me that we shouldn’t take the professional, typo-free, nicely formatted presentation of the published work at CM and my other spotlighted markets for granted.

Do their guidelines speak to me? The guidelines are straightforward (but include the quirk of requesting that prose pieces be single-spaced, which is a good reminder to ALWAYS read these notes carefully), which I always appreciate, and there’s a warm, writer-friendly vibe, for sure. But they don’t say anything that attracts me in particular. It was the special attention to flash and then the aforementioned range of voices and plethora of accompanying features that got me excited to submit.

Seriously, if you’ve got some great flashes, this magazine has to be on your list. Just read the pieces they’ve put up in their last few issues and you’ll see that they aren’t looking for any particular kind of voice or approach. There’s nothing more writer-friendly than that.

Let me know if your work lands on this site so I can offer my congrats!

Publishing Your Micro & Flash Fiction: A Master List

7 Mar

This week rather than spotlight a personal favorite shorty market, I’m using Market Monday to present a long list of magazines that favor very short fiction.

There’s no shortcut to discovering the right markets for your work. You have to search and read, search and read, search and read. I can’t help with reading, except to point to model micros and fab flashes I’ve encountered online, and highlight the good work my favorite shorty markets are publishing. But I can help with the searching.

You have to start somewhere, and my somewhere was Google, Poets & Writers, AWP’s Writer’s Chronicle, and word of mouth. Over time I pulled together a list of markets that request very short fiction in their guidelines, or run contests for very short fiction. I researched each and submitted my micros and flashes to the magazines who publish work I like and seems to fit well enough with my own.

When I discovered The Best Small Fictions 2015, I was introduced to quite a few additional publications that specialize in shorties, and I consider representation in that collection an automatic reason to give a market careful attention. The 2016 version included more.

At this point my master list is quite long, almost 100 titles. Of course my personal list, which I am forever refining, is much shorter, because I don’t submit to magazines if I don’t care for what they publish or if I think their aesthetic is so far from my own that they could never be interested in my work. You’ll discover the right markets for your own submissions by doing that reading reading reading I mentioned. Check out the magazines on my list and soon enough you’ll find your favorites.

You’ve got to start that research somewhere. If you don’t have a list already, why not start here? Good luck!

An Embarrassment of Riches

3 Feb

My 3rd Fiction Friday and already I’m changing the rules. If you love model micros & fab flashes as much as I do, this post pays for my sins.

I love Daily Shorty. It’s my digital home and my digital voice, and the best way to share what I know with other writers and fans of very short fiction. But I need to reserve writing energy and time for my fiction. When I do that, I can count on delivering only one or two substantive posts per week. If I do both a Market Monday and a Fiction Friday every week, I’ve hit my max, leaving me no time, ever, to talk about anything else. So Fiction Friday will have to be a monthly, rather than weekly, feature.

best-small-fictions-2015-coverToday I’m making up for an undelivered Fiction Friday post by bringing your attention to two wonderful anthologies, The Best Small Fictions, 2015 and 2016 (well, and I see 2017 is coming soon). I was ecstatic when I discovered the 2015 collection, and it didn’t disappoint. I got 2016 for Christmas and haven’t yet read it—when I do, I’ll do a post about it. Tonight I get to talk about the 2015 inaugural edition of this series.

Robert Olen Butler is the guest editor of The Best Small Fictions 2015. His Google-able accolades are many and very shiny, but I’m a fan because his story “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot” is one of my all-time favorites, and Severance, a collection of the final internal monologues of victims of decapitation (victims both imagined, such as Medusa, and real, such as Anne Boleyn) is a wonderful collection of micro fiction. Each micro is limited to 240 words, a number derived from the claims that (1) a severed head retains consciousness for 90 seconds, and (2) human beings think 160 words per minute when in a hyper-emotional state. Gruesome, yes, but I’ve yet to come across a more thrilling conceit.

So the man knows his shit. In particular his short shit. He proves it immediately in his lovely introduction that defines a small fiction as “a lone wolf of a lie,” and then he proves it over and over in the subsequent pages. Anyone skeptical of what very short fiction can achieve needs to read this book. But don’t let me persuade you—the stories below will do the job for me. These are a few of my favorites from the book (the first is my very favorite) that also happen to be available online:

“A Notice from the Office of Reclamation,” by J. Duncan Wiley

“Happiest White Black Man Alive,” by Dan Gilmore

How To Disassemble Your Father’s Ghost (Winter), Jonathan Humphrey

Amazing what one little lone wolf of a lie can do, yes?


CHEAP POP Wants Your Micros!

23 Jan

It’s Market Monday! Grab your quirky, amped, oddball micros. You know, the ones that *POP*.

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-31-01-pmI discovered CHEAP POP, home of the offbeat micro, when reading the excellent anthology The Best Small Fictions 2015. More on this little treasure and her 2016 sister in an upcoming post. For now I’ll thank the editors for bringing this terrific magazine to my attention just when I happened to be looking sideways at a handful of micro drafts I’d yanked from my Daily Shorty year. I liked them—I liked them a lot—but who would want them?

Do I like what CHEAP POP publishes? I read Leesa Cross-Smith’s “All That Smoke Howling Blue” in the anthology and thought, hmm. Is that story… finished? I read it again. Stopped to savor strange word-pairings that shot tension or was it joy? into the piece, thought hard about the sentence, “My name, a begging blue prayer,” so sad… or was it so eager? It’s a strange, jumpy or settled? little story, a slice-of-life piece if the lamplight’s flickering and the TV screen keeps going to static and you’re not sure if maybe you keep hearing that same ringing note, low, in your left ear, are you getting tinnitus or is that a memory??

After reading Cross-Smith’s piece, and then this one and this one and this one, I thought CHEAP POP might just appreciate my quirks, so I asked and they answered by publishing my micro “Just Asking,” originally drafted on April 26 during my Daily Shorty year. Many thanks to the editors.

They will like your quirks, too.

Does CHEAP POP nominate its authors for awards? Here’s their awards page.

Aesthetics? CHEAP POP does a great job of showing off an awful lot of pieces. If they didn’t have such a clean and balanced approach to page design, the collection of links would look too jumbled.

Do the guidelines speak to me? As someone committed to the craft of very short fiction, I love their devotion to micros—they take pieces 500 words or less, full stop. They couldn’t be more clear about how to put your submission together, which I very much appreciate. And this speaks to me for sure: “We don’t differentiate between Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Prose Poetry, nor do we have restrictions on genre—if it pops, it pops! What we want to see is good writing, your best writing, and that’s it.” Yes!

If you publish at CHEAP POP, please let me know so I can congratulate you! If CP doesn’t speak to you, just move on to the next. There are so many magazines worthy of your best work, I’m sure I’ll spotlight one you like soon enough. Good luck!