By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor
Monthly link highlights to online resources, magazines, and author sites that seem informative and inspiring for working writers. Most are free. Suggestions are welcomed.
This site seems designed for high school use, and for would-be horror writers. A tag for advertisers states that it has been on the web for sixteen years. There is no information about mission, founders, location, editors, or staff. The design is attractive, but content relatively slapdash. On the home page, there are model stories by Poe, Mark Twain, O’Henry, and Jack London; historic articles on writing (such as Poe’s review of Hawthorne and one new to me, Robert Saunders Dowst on The Short Story ); and such model poems as Whitman’s “Captain My Captain.” There is also a sidebar for clichéd writing prompts, mostly of horror situations, such as “man in your backseat,” “someone in the house,” or “name that virus.” Other tabs lead to paid book listings for self-published and small press books, free classified listings of services for writers, long lists of book publishers and literary magazines, jobs, and MFA programs (only one is listed).
The short stories tab leads to a submissions tab for stories of five hundred words or less, where they state that they publish two or three original stories per week, and claim that the full site gets “180,000 to 250,000 unique visitors per month, about 12,000-15,000 unique visitors per month come to our EWR: Short Stories page.” Response time is one day to six months. No payment is mentioned.
They (still unclear who they are) also publish a monthly digital magazine, Every Writer: “We take stories from our site and publish them in our magazine.” By signing up with your email, you will receive both the magazine and a newsletter for free, but since I’ve passed on that offer, I’ve been unable to sample the magazine or find more information about it on the web.
Boomer Lit Mag
Longtime friends and published writers, Leonard Lang and Stephen Peters founded their online quarterly magazine, BoomerLit(mag) in Minnesota in 2015 for poetry and prose “mostly by and about Boomers, though all are welcomed.” Lang, a former book reviewer for Minnesota Public Radio, edits the poetry; and Peters, an award-winning fiction writer, the short stories and essays. They seek to “explore the human condition, and literature has always investigated the nature of life, art, and for lack of a better term, spirit.”
They will consider up to twenty-five pages of prose and three to seven poems. They can offer no payment, “including for ourselves, just the glory.” Readers may sign up with email “to know when new stories, poems, articles are posted.”
Nine past issues are archived on the site, along with the current one, Volume III, Number 1 (Winter, 2018). Contributors have included Lyn Lifshin, William Doreski, Simon Perchick, and Carol Masters.
This busy, yet well-organized site is published from Dublin, supported by the Irish Arts Council, and founded by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin as a sister activity of The Inkwell Group (her publishing consultant firm). It resembles an online equivalent of Writers Digest, offering advice and news articles, resources, blogs, courses, and events, “for all ages,” with an emphasis on popular rather than literary fiction (O’Loughlin herself writes crime fiction as Sam Blake). Adrian White is the online editor and content master, supported by a staff of eleven. They claim that the site is “the world’s only national writing resources website” and gets “thousands of visitors each week.” There is an email sign-up for their newsletter, with daily updates. They also invite membership registrations for free, for emerging writers at €35, for authors at €55, and organizations at €75. The members database serves the field somewhat as Poets & Writers listings do in the United States.
The magazine section features “interviews with your favorite authors,” song and script writers, publishing news, writing competitions and Irish language articles, as well as self-interviews and opinions by published writers. Under news for writers, they include the Irish best-sellers list.
They offer (and appear to broker) courses for pay, categorized as Distance Learning, One Day, Part-time, Residential, For Kids & Teens.
They welcome writerly listings and book reviews. Review categories include Anthology, As Gaeilge, Childrens Books, Crime/Thriller, General Fiction, Humor, Memoir, NonFiction, Poetry, Women’s Fiction, and YA.
There is also a section called “Tell Your Own Story,” which is “open to Irish people living anywhere in the world, in fact anyone with an Irish connection…share your family stories of emigration past and present.” Submissions in poetry or prose should be under fifteen hundred words. No payment is mentioned. Should rejected submitters want critiques, they are directed to the for-pay areas of services and writing courses.
Founded in Brooklyn in 2012 by Noah Rosenberg (Editor-in-Chief) and Brendan Spiegel (Editorial Director), this widely celebrated “digital magazine and storytelling studio” merges human-interest journalism with literary nonfiction, much as the print magazine Creative Nonfiction does. They feature “human stories, boldly told.” The stories are categorized with such labels as Crime and Punishment, Identity, Memoir, Sports, Animals, Sickness and Health, Family, News, Women, etc. Each story is also given a snappy headline and illustrated with graphics. They are known as an outlet for slow, or long-form journalism.
They welcome stories via Submittable in writing, short documentary films, photo essays, audio stories and comics journalism, either as finished work or as pitches. And they do pay, but don’t say how much.
One story I sampled, “How It Feels To Be The Biggest Woman at a Clothing Shop” by Elana Rabinowitz, impressed me as a well-structured personal account of a newsworthy phenomenon—the clothes swap—but also seemed overly solemn and familiar on the themes of identity and body image, like Nora Ephron without the humor. Another, “Inspired By Black Lives Matter, This Masked Man Patrols Under the Cover of Darkness” by Amanda Bloom, proved dramatic, informative, and intriguing. It profiles “cycle-bound activist Sabir Abdussabur [as he] fights injustice on the streets of New Haven.” Wearing a black mask and uniform, this vigilante does good works and enforces safety and traffic laws (takes down license numbers of U-turners, etc.), along with other members of the Masked Maniax bike club he founded. Based on her interviews, the writer skillfully supplies Abdussaur’s dialogue, physical description, his background (son of a retired New Haven Police Sergeant and a Black Panther mother), and the racial attacks and accidents suffered in the course of his patrols, and ends with the account of Abdussabur nearly being run down as he shovels snow to clear a bike lane one night:
“He affixes the lights to his clothes and begins shovelling, making sure to create a path between the construction barrels for cyclists who might find themselves in a tight spot as they traverse the intersection. A car rips down the street, drifting in the snow. Abdussabur jumps out of the road, shaking his head.” He comes alive in the telling as both noble and fanatical.
Readers subscribe for free by email. The editors claim a “network of 2000 storytellers.”
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