Friday, January 30, 2015

Top Literary Magazines?

Sometimes, I wonder about the people who read literary magazines. I try to read a few, but admit that there are more out there than I know what to do with. It's important to be familiar with publications to which you are interested in submitting work, but I need som e help narrowing the field!

Every magazine has a flavor. Whether it is steeped in traditions, or more nuanced by the current editor and staff, there are certain qualities they look for in the writers and pieces that they publish. I have read The New Yorker on and off for years, and I enjoy the New Yorkness of it! I miss certain qualities of East Coast urban living, and The New Yorker can help fill that void, even just a little bit. The New Yorker is word-geek friendly, and a grammar nazi's paradise. Sometimes, I scratch my head at the fiction - what in the world was I supposed to get out of reading THAT?!? What were they thinking?? Other times, I am touched, moved, disturbed, affected... the story has elicited something from me, and that is good.

Here is a list of what Every Writer's Resource calls that Top Fifty Literary Magazines.

This list is from Writer's Relief (Author Submission Service), written in March 2012 with a focus on women-author-friendly publications.

Have you read any of these? Which ones do you like? Have you been published in any of them? What do you have to say about that experience?

My fiction tends toward the fantastic, spanning horror, urban fantasy, soft sci-fi, and literary.
My non-fiction ranges from memoir to pop-culture reviews. I enjoy the term, "cultural observer," and am exploring what that means to me.

Tell me what you read! What you think! What do you know about these lit mags?

That's Where The Fun Is...

A month ago, I signed up for the 2015 NYC Midnight Short Story Competition, for my second year. This is a fun, three-round elimination contest under pressure, which I love. In 2014, I didn't make it past Round One, although I did get an Honorable Mention for my assigned category of Historical Fiction (Subject: Sworn Enemies, Char: Widow), so I was pleased with that result.

This year, I completely spaced on the starting date of the first round! Luckily there are eight days to write the 2500 word story, and I can be fast. Instead of starting at 9pm Thursday Jan. 15th, I began at midnight the following Thursday. I cranked out the first draft before 4am, and sent it to a few friends for feedback. I tweaked it Saturday an hour before deadline and got it in 30 minutes early. Whew! 

Now, I have to wait until results are announced around March 10th. I had a lot of fun with this one, because I was given Sci-fi - yay! - which is easier for me, having been raised on Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Tales From the Crypt, Tales From the Darkside, Star Trek, etc. My assigned subject was "retirement" and my character was "receptionist." We'll see what happens with the contest, but I will definitely find a home for this story. It got several laughs and a good response from both readers and the listeners in my writers group. Always nice, especially since I've not been writing much funny this past year.

Now, I must admit that this post is a bit of a procrastination tactic - I need to be writing more memoir essays, and that darn sixth draft of HISMZA that I've been putting off. I also have several things to edit for other writers, so I'm signing off. 

Happy Writing!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter's Rest: Refilling the Writer's Fuel Tank

January 18th.

Still haven't written much, or edited much of what I have that needs it. But, it's not like I haven't been writing, at all...

I've written a ton of poetry and micropoetry. When I am drifting off to sleep, I think of these little poems and usually post them on Twitter. Just a little creative fun and sharing. I also have a journal full of hand written poems, ideas, meditations, dreams, thoughts, and plans. Been very active on the subconscious level this winter - lots of sleep, lots of dreaming, lots of deep, inner work on many levels. I am sure that this will be reflected in my writing to come.

I've started a monthly newsletter for my main business (massage therapy) and have a goal of once a month publication. I have written two; each with one major article, one minor article, and one community connection piece. I'm enjoying it, and it should be good for my day job, but it tends to eat into my creative writing time.

I used to work at a spa PT, in addition to my own MT practice. I was fired once for being two minutes late, but then rehired eight months later (after the old manager was fired.) Last February, it happened again - I was late, I was fired, and I moved on. I understand...punctuality is important in business. People's time is valuable. But I have never been able to avoid being late sometimes...I feel like a couple minutes here or there, well... it happens. Nothing excessive. Anyhow, I've been really good at getting a better handle on my own business and planning, and 2014 was a-ok for me. Plus, my arms stopped spasming from overworking, and I caught up on years of sleep. Three weeks ago, the spa called me. The manager that fired me last year is gone, and they want me back. I am flattered, and somewhat tempted - more money, right? Yay! And I miss some of my old clientele. And it is close to my home, and there are a handful of other pluses. But, then again, there are minuses, too. I've become accustomed to my own pace of life, my own schedule, my own controls. I don't want to distract myself from being proactive about my own practice. I am working on my future, here. And those days I used to work at the spa? When I'm not sleeping, I am writing. I don't want to give up that time.

I've been reading a ton, too, and feel like it's all just going into the blender. I am impatient to produce, yet, I know I will be better after all of this time spent exploring, studying, analyzing, and practicing my craft. The books I'm reading? Psychology, Urban Fantasy, Irish Crime Fiction, Shamanism, History, and Memoir. Into the blender it goes. And I'm getting ready to start reading a recommended series on writing: The Elements of Fiction Writing, by Writer's Digest Books.

So, I'm trying not to kick myself for not submitting anything for publication in 2014 (other than some novel agent queries). I need to replenish the well, with the books, and the thoughts, and the dreams, and the rest. Seven plus years of non-stop writing projects has taken its toll on my energy reserves. It only makes sense that I need to rest and take some time to regroup my creative energies. Meditation has been a major part of my daily life the past month; I'm ashamed to say that I got away from the regular practice for too long. In fact, I might toy with the idea of writing a book on meditation for writers...

Have you, fellow writers, noticed any seasonal patterns to your creative style? Your output? Your inspirations? What times of the year do you organize, plan, dream, write, read, learn, produce? What times of the day or night are you most mentally alert, or most receptive to new ideas? Cycles and patterns exist for all of us, and it is in our best interest to learn to identify, recognize, and acknowledge these periods of what we bring in to our creative lives and what we put out.