Friday, October 21, 2011

The trouble with shorts

Since my novel is still going nowhere fast, I've been giving short story writing another go. I know I blogged on this genre before and lamented about how damn hard it is, but I had an idea kicking around and some free time so I just dove back in. I've managed to write a short story that actually works. And I have no idea how it happened.

Now herein lies the rub: what literary journals should I submit to? So many journals have very specific requirements. Descant, for instance, assigns themes for each issue and Brick doesn't accept any unsolicited works of short fiction. Many other Canadian literary journals have loooong waiting lists, often up to one year. And here's my other concern: I want to be published in a journal that agents and editors actually read (or at least skim). I'm not that familiar with the literary journal world and while I've done some online research, I have no idea what journals are tops. The only one I subscribe to is Glimmer Train, which is beautifully produced and awesome, but is it an influential journal? I have no idea.

Writing contests are super, I've been told. The CBC short story contest, Canada Writes, is always kicking around, but the word count is far too short for me at 1500. (My story is twice that.) The option that I'm seriously considering is the Vanderbilt-Exile Short Fiction Competition. I'm not sure why Anderson Cooper's denim-designing mother co-sponsors this contest but it sounds like the most appropriate place for my story. (Perhaps her deceased son was a writer? Anyone?) I am a bit concerned, however, that my story could be viewed as a tad bit anti-American and therefore booted out of consideration. (It's satire, but still...)

If anyone out there has any recommendations for high-quality literary journals that I can submit to, they would be much appreciated. I'd love to turn this short story into a novel, so a journal that agents/editors read would be amazing.