This list uses the Best American Essays series to rank magazines, literary journals, newspapers and other literary nonfiction markets by how often their essays are cited in the anthology. The ranking covers the last five years — , and a certain number of points are awarded for an essay appearing in the anthology, and a lesser amount is awarded for the Special Mention in the back of the journal.
The Special Mentions are only tallied up for the last two years, though — because they run 10 — 15 pages and contain multitudes. Some differences between this ranking and my Best American Short Stories ranking : the fiction list concentrates on the top journals, while this literary nonfiction one is much more democratic, spreading the wealth of mentions and publications across a far broader span of publications.
It could be because the Best American Essays lists far more special mentions than the Best American Stories, letting them highlight lesser known publications. What magazines and journals are punching above their weight class? The big surprises for me were that River Teeth and Southwest Review were ranked so highly, and also Guernica and Normal School made amazing showings.
The Sun and Fourth Genre also placed quite high, considering the company. Crazy Horse sponsors emerging and diverse voices in its biannual publication. Submissions for this journal remain open between September and May, and they typically range between 2, and 5, words. This is a great literary journal to submit to for writers of all styles and narratives!
Dogwood is a journal of poetry and prose based out of Fairfield University. This annual publication only opens for submissions in the Fall, and each edition includes prizes for top pieces. Literary nonfiction from all walks of life are welcome here. Creative nonfiction submissions should not exceed 2, words but should still deliver a cogent, memorable story. Want to write your world, your way? Join us for this six week program on article writing, blogging, and essays.
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Conjunctions publishes both a biannual magazine and a weekly online journal, both of which house fantastic literary journalism. This Whiting Awarded journal nurtures groundbreaking literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, with many of its authors going on to win Pushcarts and Best of the Net prizes! Hippocampus Magazine is one of the best creative nonfiction magazines out there, as it focuses solely on the publication of personal essays and nonfiction stories. Their strictly digital publication is highly literary and has many great creative nonfiction examples and pieces.
Despite being a highly competitive journal, both new and emerging writers can find a home at Hippocampus. The American Literary Review , run out of the University of North Texas, publishes engaging and precise stories and poetry. Fourth Genre is a biannual creative nonfiction journal published through Michigan State University.
The journal amplifies diverse and powerful voices, seeking stories that are refreshing, earnest, and imaginative. Fourth Genre only publishes nonfiction, so read its back issues for some great creative nonfiction examples! Creative Nonfiction celebrates a diverse range of voices and experiences, championing both new and established essayists. Between its literary publications and its creative nonfiction blog, writers can learn a lot from this journal.
Send your creative nonfiction submissions to Creative Nonfiction! Witness publishes prose and poetry that examines and analyzes the modern day. They seek stories about modern issues and events, often publishing bold and eclectic takes on serious issues. Witness is a more politically-oriented journal, making it a leader in contemporary literary journalism. The following journals are notoriously difficult to publish in, as writers often have to have a name built for themselves in the literary world.
Nonetheless, the following publications exist at the summit of CNF, so keep these publications on your radar as top literary journals to submit to. AGNI , a highly literary publication run at Boston University, publishes fiery, transformative prose and poetry. Creative nonfiction submissions should be polished, inventive, and highly original. Be sure to read their previous publications for an idea of what they look for! The Atlantic is well-respected for its literary journalism, making it a premier publisher of creative nonfiction.
Salon does not present itself as a creative nonfiction journal, but many of its previous magazine issues are highly literary in nature, examining current issues with a sharp, educated lens. If you have nonfiction stories that are both personal and global in nature, Salon accepts queries for articles and editorials, so check them out! The Antioch Review is a real page-turner, as their past publications can attest to.
The Colorado Review is a tri-annual publication steeped in history, with original issues featuring poetry and prose from Langston Hughes, E. Cummings, Henry Miller, etc. The Colorado Review is a fantastic space for literary journalism and will certainly welcome your creative nonfiction. The Virginia Quarterly publishes a wide array of literary nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, promising both ample readership and ample pay.
VQR seeks inventive and imaginative stories, and it accepts both personal essays and nonfiction pieces on literary and cultural criticism. Submissions are generally open in July, but keep tuned for any special announcements or brief reading periods!
Provide even more value for your reader by cutting the content down into easily digestible bites. Ideas are broken down into detail. You see short paragraphs and a lot of white space. All the components of tight, simple writing are right before your eyes. Many great novels are written in a fairly simple style. They impress with story rather than with wording. Take any novel by Charles Bukowski : Do you think his prose would have the same effect if it used long-winded, multi-clause sentences and a jungle of technical terms?
Rather than trying to make a sophisticated expression, Bukowski conveys emotion and character. Good fiction is full of surprising twists, but nonfiction often reads predictably, which is to say, dull. Do it better and include an unexpected twist or turn when you can. It will keep things interesting and fun for your audience. Why do we watch dramas and why do we like our gifts wrapped up?
For example, if you are writing an article about robots, you could ask: Which famous person drew early plans for a robot? You could also make a statement and follow it up with a point that seems like a contradiction. A surprising joke or a provocative comparison can keep the reader interested as well, provided it fits your style and the format of your writing.
Be imaginative, just like a fiction writer. One way helps for sure: read a lot of great fiction. Share your secret weapons in the comments! This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. Alex Limberg is the founder of Ride the Pen, a creative writing blog that dissects famous authors works, not bodies.
The blog also offers detailed writing prompts. Shakespeare is jealous. Ride the Pen ridethepen. This ebook by John Soares will show you why and how. Get It Now. What I did, that actually seems to have worked for me despite my initial apprehension , was to write the entire book so it would read as one continuous scene, even though the story takes place over approximately a three week period in multiple locations with multiple characters.
Time in the story is continuous, flowing, and everything is happing simultaneously, before, or after some other event. The story starts and then goes…on the last page it stops. Everything reads with a sense of immediacy some scenes more, some less but it reads as though there are no stopping points…flowing from beginning to end. This happens, then this happens, then this happens, and so on. The story flows as one continuous set of actions so much that I have even used that to my advantage to make subtile authorial intrusive jokes about it.
My beta reader reads books a year on average so that means something. A guy walks to work, and I kept it compelling, interesting, and got the reader to want to know the rest of the story based on that alone. I must have done something right. The point is, if you find what works for you and your story, go with it. Some stories just write themselves and you cannot be afraid to let that happen.
If something seems to be working, let it work. Every writer sucks at some point and knowing where and when that is is the only way you can grow. It happens to the best of us. Lord of the Flies by William Golding was rejected 20 times before it was published. In and it became a movie and was parodied in a episode of The Simpsons Das Bus in Every non-fiction writer who wants the general public to read their stuff should print this and tape it to their bedroom mirror.
Took me years to recognize when to use and when not to use constraints that bound me when writing in the tech and business world. A new, and well educated, member of our weekly critique group reminded me recently. Her commentary on an intro I wrote took me to task because I had no topical statement.
Her point was that every paragraph must have a thesis statement, especially an intro. Just as in good fiction, the writing must pique a reader. As for my intro, others found it flowed well and had interest to drive a reader further. Fiction would lighten things up.
Sounds great, Laura. When you read fiction, your subconscious will soak up all of these lessons. Have fun! Thanks so much for these tips. They are most helpful. This does bring up a question for me, however. I write a lot of business related nonfiction and I always tell a story about my personal experience, first, then follow with tips.
I think readers expect and accept that level of informality in a blog post. But, what about in a book? One of the things I love about the nonfiction of late is that it has become less formal and much more personal and relaxed. But how personal is too personal and how relaxed can we be without turning off our readers or seeming to be all about us?
Hi Vicki, If you are writing a book, I think the appropriate language really depends on what kind of book it is and what your readers expect. Trust your guts! Thanks for the invaluable tips. Oftentimes, I see myself lost. I have been writing book reviews and resumes and also participate in blogs and discussion forums. At a certain point, I do want to start my own blog and write about my life experiences.
The truth is that I need to breakthrough, and this article gave me insights on how to take the first steps. Be prepared for a lot of work without getting anything back initially though. Like Trish suggested, check out the earlier entry. You can find a lot of hands-on info about blogging on this very blog. Or just google it and spend some time filtering out the best sources — there is a lot of quality info out there, you just have to find it.
To grab my readers attention I usually start off with a question that requires a bit of thought on their part, drawing them in to the topic and engaging them on a direct, 1-on-1 level. I am an aspiring writer, for the moment only blogging I have found this post most educative.
My blog is about my own daily personal experiences and encounters which is about telling my own life story. My hope is that those who read my posts can find interesting that they will want to continue to read. I will certainly try to adopt these 5 techniques to improve my posts.
I see my blogging as the training to one day write a book. Istill have a lot to learn still. Thank you for this informative post. Blogging is a great training for writing, because you can go public right away and get feedback and motivation if you have an audience, that is…. Consider guest posting as well! Not only will you gain readers, but you will also get high quality feedback for your writing from the editors. I make my stories personal. My readers respond most enthusiastically when I write about myself, my feelings about experiences I have when traveling, and particularly about the mistakes I make on my adventures.
When I reveal my human side, my weaknesses and moments of emotional angst, it not only helps my readers identify with me, it helps them find the courage to go on their own adventures. I use the things that are my greatness weaknesses to help my audience learn about the world and how they can be a part of it. The videogame is supposedly valuable because it was a limited run.
It got me running for my trashcan. But no luck. This is unfair. You know what would spark joy? Selling my trash. The videogame was produced in I have bras from Think I can get a million bucks for one? With two cups! Maybe 2 million? My bras are antique. In fact, so am I. Take the sword and keep it. Take everything and keep it. A storage unit full of bras. Twin peaks, but a lot of them.
Let them make a TV show about me and all the stuff in my garage and storage unit. People will cluck, cluck, cluck. I swear, I had one of those too, and I threw it away. That is one high-rent garage. The family is descendants of Betsy Ross, and the diary is years old. My oldest bra is only They say the diary is priceless. I would find out the price. By selling it. The answer should be more.
I bet the answer is less. The Legend of Zelda has sizzle. Zelda is a princess who has to be rescued from a tyrant.