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5 Literary Magazines To Read if You Write Flash Fiction

Whether you’ve got a binder filled with short stories or started your writing journey relatively recently, you can find inspiration in literary magazines. These publications feature a wide range of creative pieces, from personal essays and poetry to novel excerpts.

And if you’re interested in writing flash fiction (stories under 1,000 words), I’ve got some great news: there are tons of publications out there that’ll consider publishing your work even if you’re under the age of 18. In this post, I’ve compiled a list of five literary magazines you should check out — and where you may even wish to submit your writing!

Note: Some of these publications feature writing with adult/mature issues and language, so please read at your own discretion.


1. SmokeLong Quarterly

Established in 2003, SmokeLong Quarterly has been “dedicated to publishing the best flash narratives” by showcasing both experienced and brand-new writers. Its team releases quarterly issues online, which you can find here.

If you’re not sure where to start, try some of SmokeLong’s most popular stories, such as “Manatees” by William Todd Seabrook and “Old Man Falling Off of Stool” by Timur Jonathan Karaca. The homepage also suggests various stories from SmokeLong’s most recent issues, with intriguing excerpts that really make you want to keep reading.

For those interested in submitting a story of their own, here’s what the team usually looks for: “Language that surprises and excites; narratives that strive toward something other than a final punch line or twist; pieces that add up to something, often (but not always) something profound or emotionally resonant; [and] honest work that feels as if it has far more purpose than a writer wanting to write a story.”

Other important details: SmokeLong doesn't charge a submission fees and typically responds within a week. The team pays $100 for each accepted piece.



2. Flash Frog

Although fairly new to the flash fiction game (established in January 2021), this online magazine has since published writing with a punch every week: “We like our stories like we like our dart frogs: small, brightly colored, and deadly to the touch.”

Each piece that Flash Frog publishes is under 1,000 words and accompanied by original artwork. If you’re interested in checking out some of its previously published pieces, you could start with a few that have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, such as “Missing Person Report” by Miriam Mandel Levi and “No Dead Bodies in the Dining Room” by Kathryn LeMon.

And if you’re partial to spooky fiction, look out for Flash Frogtober — the magazine’s month-long event occurring each October, during which time it publishes only ghost stories.

Other important details: Flash Frog doesn't charge a submission fee and typically responds within a week. It pays $25 for each accepted piece.



3. Milk Candy Review

Now, if you prefer unconventional stories, check out Milk Candy Review, founded in 2018 and “here for your beautifully weird flash fiction.” It publishes one story (750 words or fewer) every Thursday, followed by a quick interview from the author on the Monday after publication.

Some of Milk Candy’s most lauded stories include “U.S. Threat Forecast” by Andrea Marcusa and “A Writer’s Guide to Fairy Tales” by Ellen Rhudy. From its often meta subject matter to haunting and highly effective descriptions, Milk Candy is excellent for those looking to read flash fiction from real “writer’s writers” — and to gain insights from their published interviews as well.

Other important details: Milk Candy Review doesn't charge a submission fee and typically responds within a week. However, it doesn’t offer any payment for accepted submissions.



4. Fractured Literary

If you love reading and writing about the human condition, this literary magazine might be perfect for you. Fractured Literary, founded in 2020, seeks out flash fiction that “investigates the mysteries of being human; the sorrow and the joy of connecting to the diverse population around us.” Its team asks for submissions with “emotional resonance and characters we care about, who come to life through their actions and responses to the world around them.”

Some of their Pushcart Prize-nominated stories include “When We’re Empty Of What We Are Designed To Hold” by Quinn Rennerfeldt and “The Nights I Spend Reading to a Rescue Horse Named Emmeline” by Pat Foran. (If those titles aren’t compelling, I don’t know what is!)

Other important details: Fractured Literary doesn't charge a submission fee and typically responds within 60 days. It pays $75 for each accepted flash fiction submission (401 words to 1,000 words) and $50 for each microfiction submission (400 words or fewer).



5. Blue Marble Review

Finally, for all you young writers who want to read pieces written by your peers, check out Blue Marble Review! This online literary journal was established in 2015 and features creative works by writers between the ages of 13 and 22.

It accepts flash fiction and publishes new issues four times per year. You can read all of Blue Marble Review’s previously published fiction here. (The interface is great because you can just keep scrolling and reading — similarly immersive to an actual printed literary magazine.)

Other important details: Blue Marble Review doesn't charge a submission fee and typically responds within four to six weeks. It pays $25 to $30 for each accepted piece.



Needless to say, there are countless great literary magazines out there; hopefully, this list has put at least one of them on your radar. As Stephen King (who has written over 200 short stories!) once said: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot.” So if you can, try to make reading and writing flash fiction a daily habit. Who knows? Your stories might end up in a popular magazine one day.


About Rose Atkinson-Carter
Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best self-publishing resources and professionals like editors, designers, and ghostwriters. She lives in London.

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