Week 4 | Max Brooks on NPR and Where to Send Your Zombie Narratives



The Standard of Reading

This week we are going to focus on the standard of reading and where your current narrative falls in this standard. For instance, if The New Yorker is your favorite journal and you read it weekly and you want nothing more than to see a work of your fiction published in The New Yorker then give your narrative and craft time to develop until you sense a similarity of aesthetic between your voice and narratives and that which you read in The New Yorker. The New Yorker isn’t usually what we associate as a zombie venue; however, it is not entirely out of the question. George Saunders has written and had published many character-focused speculative narratives in The New Yorker. Still, there are other well-respected literary journals that are more readily open to character-focused speculative stories–i.e. TinHouse and Pedestal. There are also many speculative journals with a more diverse acceptance of narratives such as Fantasy Magazine, Clarkesworld, Apex and more. In general, for zombie narratives, you are searching for journals that are open to dark speculative aesthetics. When your narrative feels ready to submit, the first question you should ask yourself is “what is my standard of reading?” Then you should read voraciously the journals that feel organic in voice. After you’ve thoroughly immersed yourself in the journals and the editors’ guidelines and aesthetics, then start to critically ask which of these journals might be open to your zombie narrative.

Keep in mind that stories with classic “monster” characters are not often accepted by minimalist literary journals such as The Paris Review, The New Yorker, etc. Editors rarely say never as they are always looking to be proven wrong in delightful and smart ways; however, it is a safe bet to believe that the editors of these journals will not likely be interested in a zombie narrative. For this reason, consider what your goals for writing zombies are. Consider where this narrative more often suits. Be realistic about your writing and submission goals. What a writer feels editors should consider valuable means nothing to what editors actually consider valuable. It’s not personal, just business. Editors are people and do have subjective views on what makes excellent literature. Don’t take it personally. There are editors out there for just about every aesthetic.


Research and Submission Resources

Duotrope: Submissions Tracking (This resource is excellent for finding journals and anthologies interested in dark speculative narratives. Your particular voice will determine whether your narratives will be more suited toward literary journals open to character-based speculative or speculative journals open to narratives on a more diverse spectrum of genres and aesthetics. Before submitting to any publisher, make sure to read the journal first. Read several issues. Visit the site. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with the guidelines. Never submit to a journal or anthology edited by an editor you do not know or read. Submit to journals smartly, journals that reflect your aesthetics as they are, not what you want them to eventually be. If you have a favorite journal but aren’t sure if your aesthetic suits the journal yet, give your narrative time to grow and develop until it meets the standard of your reading. Then begin looking at the submission process.)

Publisher’s Marketplace: Publisher and Agent Research (Excellent for long work research and submission information–i.e. novels, novellas, collections, etc.)

If you’d like individualized help with preparing your novel, collection, memoir, etc. for sending to agents and editors, check out our Literary Matchmaking Workshop with Danielle Lanzet with Chris Calhoun Agency in NYC. Don’t forget your alumni discount code: alumnixo!


End of Course Questionnaire

Please complete the End of Course Questionnaire. We will use this information to understand what is working for you in the course; what can be improved; know what courses to add to our schedule; and understand how you came to find us. Thank you for sharing your words and talents with us this month. We hope you’ll join us again. Make sure to check out the upcoming course listings and let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be happy to make recommendations.


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As an Eckleburg Workshops Alumni, you now have free access to our listservs in quick and easy to complete forms with automatic distribution to students, alumni and faculty of The Eckleburg Workshops, readers at The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Eckleburg Facebook friends, Twitter followers and Tumblr followers. See below:

  • The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Spotlight: In this spotlight you will not only speak about your workshop inspiration, but also about what the writing process means to you and your work. You will also let Eckleburg readers know about your current writing projects and focuses.
  • Tell Us About Your Eckleburg Works! This distribution is for works you wrote and/or critiqued here at The Eckleburg Workshops, either in part or whole.
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  • Recommended Reading: What veteran writers know, and new writers sometimes do not, is that the literary community and markets are not only about talent and craft but also about the karma. The generosity you show other talented writers who have inspired you will come back to you. Start the good karma on your upcoming publication by sharing with us a work that grips you. This distribution is to spread the word about works you are currently reading and feel others should be too. This can be a book, a short story, a poem, etc. 


Guidelines, Submissions & Formatting

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