As writers, we’re supposed to read every day. We’re supposed to study the work of other writers, and learn from it. We’re supposed to have extensive knowledge of our genres, so as not to repeat a story that’s been told five gazillion times. But in this insanely busy world, most of us are lucky if we manage to find a few hours a week to write, much less read. Clearly, we’re not going to make it to Barnes and Noble to pick up a new thriller every day – so how do we keep our critical reading skills fresh? For me, the answer is simple: e-zines. There are numerous quality, free-to-read e-zines on the web, which allow readers regular access to brand-new stories, all without leaving the comfort of a cushy computer chair.
The following are three of my favorite e-zines. None of them charge for subscriptions, and all of them publish new stories on a regular basis. Also, I should add that all three of these are paying markets, currently open for submissions. So, what are you waiting for? Go check them out:
Every Day Fiction ( http://www.everydayfiction.com/ )
This is a flash fiction zine that publishes a new story every single day. All genres are welcome, and each piece is only 1,000 words or less – short enough to read in the morning before your commute, or while you’re wolfing down Cheetos on your lunch break. This magazine has great variety in terms of the styles and subject matters it publishes. One day you’re reading about a little girl trying to save a weird, cat-like creature on an alien world, the next day you’re reading about a dude who’s in love with a painting. Fresh, edgy and experimental writing goes side-by-side with more traditional prose in this cool flash zine. Stories can be sent directly to your email, and are also available on the website. Older stories remain on the site, archived by category.
Daily Science Fiction ( http://dailysciencefiction.com/ )
This zine publishes new science fiction and fantasy stories Monday through Friday. Like EDF, the stories can be sent directly to your email, or you can read them on the site. DSF tends to publish flash stories on the first four days of the week, with a longer story on Fridays. Most of the stories they publish have this really beautiful, literary quality. One of the neat things about this e-zine is that you don’t really have to be a fan of the science fiction/fantasy genre to appreciate the stories, since so many of them are character-driven. Another nifty feature: like EDF, the stories on the site are archived by category, so if you just want to read about monsters, or robots, or any other specific topic, you can get there with a click of a button.
Knowonder! ( http://www.knowonder.com/ )
Here’s one for children’s fiction authors! This magazine has a (non-free) print version which publishes thirty new stories each month, but you can read ten of those thirty stories on their website for free! The emphasis is on read-aloud stories with prose that engages all of the senses and adventures that capture the imaginations of young children. The tales range from humorous to action-filled, and are all, of course, kid-friendly. Definitely a can’t-miss site for children’s writers and also for Moms who are a little bit tired of reading Goodnight, Moon every single night.
Now you’ve got three great magazines to read, each just a mouse-click away. So, go get your daily dose of fiction!