Hack Writers

My fondness for searching out new (to me) online magazines and exploring their contents led me this week to http://www.hackwriters.com. This online portfolio includes travel, lifestyle and fiction pieces from new and established writers. According to the website’s About page, their material is archived by the British Library and boasts several awards from the North American Travel Journalists Association. Their homepage banner includes this designation, “The International Writer’s Magazine.”

I perused the travel page (Hacktreks) but found nothing about Ireland, to my dismay.

Hackwriters began in 1999, and there’s something satisfying about a group whose roots went down as the century turned, especially in light of all that Y2K silliness going on at the time. It suggests a willingness to plunge into the void with optimism.

The magazine is free and pays no fees to authors whose work they accept for publication. Submissions are accepted across topics and genres. Their submission page includes these caveats…no sexism, racism or other forms of discrimination in the content. They strive to discover high quality writing that is thought provoking without being offensive.

Word limits for submissions are presented as a guide rather than an absolute; between 1200 and 2200 words are preferred. The editors ask that writers considering submitting to their magazine first read previous work they’ve accepted and published. Seems a reasonable request.

Current fiction pieces can be found at http://www.hackwriters.com/Dreamscapes3.htm
The site offers an enormous selection of short fiction from which to choose. I read a few and, while I’m not even close to having read half of the stories available, I haven’t yet found a stinker in the bunch. Most of their authors have several stories in the 2013 issue. They include Oswaldo Jimenez, Martin Green, Abigail George and Michelle D’Costa. Stories are longer than what I’ve grown accustomed to reading lately in Flash Fiction magazines.

I prefer the flash format, but found reading Hackwriters’ offerings a happy diversion this week.


Everyday Fiction

I received notice today from Everyday Fiction, an online publication for flash fiction, that they have accepted another of my short stories. The story, entitled Kin, is scheduled for publication in September. The EF editorial team praised Kin for its blend of description and story, and the way the two compliment each other. The story is under 500 words in length yet provides a complete story arc. Find the story next month at http://www.everydayfiction.com

An Updated List

A few months ago I indulged myself in listing the publications where I’ve had poetry, fiction and non-fiction work published. Since then, a few more submissions have been accepted and published.

Here’s my updated list:


Earth’s Daughters

River Styx


FOCUS / Midwest

Nail Polish Stories



Everyday Fiction

Transient Publications


Three Minute Reflection

On Tuesday, I uploaded my entry for Round 11 of NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest. I spent less time than usual editing my 590 word story. I followed advice that another flash fiction writer recently shared with me, that there’s a fine line between finding just the right word and overworking the prose. Flash fiction is like biscuit dough that way; too much handling results in a less appetizing outcome.
The best flash stories, especially those that come in under a thousand words, are as much poetry as narrative. Often, their brevity conceals the complexity of the writer’s intent. And while I agree with other writers’ advice about attending to all of the words and making them do double and sometimes triple duty, I also see the wisdom in limiting your revisions and edits. Flash stories are often more about the picture than the plot. With many fewer words allotted some of what moves the story can be what’s left out.
I believe that writing in the flash form can be freeing, despite the feeling of constraint that word limits impose. A writer can experiment in the flash form with mood and subtlety and can focus on dramatic elements more keenly. Preambles can be tossed. Fewer characters offer the possibility of a sharper focus on the motives of one or two. The story can purposely leave more to the readers’ imaginations.
The best piece of advice I found about writing flash fiction was to ignore the word count. That’s right – stop looking at the little number in the lower left of your screen.
Write the story that nags you to be written. Avoid sacrificing your ending to meet the word count. Make sure you can deliver the reader a wonderful twist that makes them want to go back and reread. If you can’t meet the word count and still tell your story, chances are it’s not meant to be a flash story. It’s OK to let the story be the length that best suits its message. If it communicates the message you intended, there’ll be a market for the story – just not, perhaps, the contest or the market you first envisioned.

April poems bring May stories

On the heels of poetry month comes May and its celebration of short stories. There’s no lack of opportunities to read, submit and celebrate the short story. A few of the online resources that embrace all things short story are Everyday Fiction, Story A Day, and Fiction Writers Review.

Everyday Fiction is sponsoring a month-long event asking readers to nominate their favorite online stories. The type of short stories eligible is unlimited – flash, micro, dribble – you get the idea. Their only caveat is that you cannot nominate your own story. There’s no prize for this event – just the opportunity to give your favorite story a shout-out and to see what others are recommending.

Submit your favorite story through the link below, or by joining their Facebook group. You can find the group by searching for FFC 2013 Short Story Month.


I haven’t chosen my favorite yet…maybe I haven’t read it yet. If you think you have an online story to recommend, go ahead and leave a comment.

These links will take you to the celebrations sponsored by Story A Day and Fiction Writers Review:




Tag, You’re It

Everyday Fiction picked one of my flash fiction stories up for publication. If you’re not familiar with their site, here’s a link: http://www.everydayfiction.com

Everyday Fiction is a subscription service where daily stories are delivered to subscribers by email. Subscribing to the site is easy and free. There’s also a tab on their home page to “Submit a Story.” I strongly recommend EF to any other flash fiction writers looking for an outlet for their work.

Why? A couple of the benefits of submitting are that if they select your story they pay for your story. They don’t pay much – just $10 – and they encourage writers to donate the $$ back to their group to keep the service going. Still, it’s comforting to be able to say, “I got paid for this one!”

They will also share feedback from their panel of readers prior to publication. I read my feedback from four different readers and found it beneficial. There were many positives but also a few suggestions about places in the story where they were less enthusiastic. They gave me the option to edit the story based on the feedback, which is unlike any other journal, magazine or online service that I’ve known.

On the last day of every month they publish the schedule for stories to be released. So, on April 30th, be sure to check the list for my story, “Tag, You’re It.” I know I will.

Small Press

In the spirit of “locavore” eating, I’d like to propose a bit of locavore reading as well.

Get to know St. Louis’s young, very small publisher, Blank Slate Press. http://blankslatepress.com/

One of their handful of authors received honorable mention for the Langum Prize in Historical Fiction. Kristi Blank Makansi is the editor. They’ve published just 6 volumes thus far and three of the six have been award winners. Their first crime novel will be released later this year.

Sadly, they’re not currently accepting submissions. But their site tantalizes us with this: “Please check back soon for some very exciting Blank Slate Press news.”