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  • Literary Journal Submissions

    When submitting work to a literary journal, it is important to pay close attention to submission guidelines that are found on each journal’s site. Literary journal submissions vary across journals, which is why clicking the “submission guidelines” link is a helpful tool.

    At 3Elements Review, we look for character-driven stories as opposed to plot-driven stories. The goal is to make the reader want to continue reading the story and not put it down until it there is nothing left to read. 3Elements also provides just that, three elements or words assigned to each issue that are to be incorporated into writer’s stories. The story does not have to be centered around the three elements, but all three elements should be incorporated in the story in a creative way.

    Artwork and photography should showcase a minimum of one of the given elements, but that doesn’t mean that all three can’t be captured. Make sure to include an explanation on how you used the elements and how you feel the work submitted represents the issue’s elements.

    Don’t forget to include a short bio with all submissions. Not only do the editors want to know about you, but the readers most likely will want to know as well. There seems to be a stronger connection when a reader is able to see an author’s face and have a little knowledge on his or her writing background.

    Submitting pieces for 3Elements is free, making getting the submission process a little less stressful. Work of any type should be submitted through Submittable on given deadlines or it will not be looked over by an editor.

    Some literary journal submission guidelines ask writers to refrain from submitting the same piece of work to multiple journals, while many journals welcome it. At 3Elements, we think that submitting one piece at a time and waiting for a response (some journals have very long response times) is unfair to writers. We welcome simultaneous submissions, but ask that you please let us know if your piece has been accepted elsewhere! We’ll even read up to three short stories and five poems per submitter per submission period.


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    A Literary Journal for Everyone

    There are hundreds of literary journals both online and in print that welcome new and veteran writers. The great thing about the variety of journals being published is the opportunities they bring to writers. There are journals that offer everything from writing prompts to contests. Writers are sure to find their niche and publish a story or work of art with that journal.


    3Elements Review is a great journal for writers who prefer to be given prompts to help fight writer’s block. For each issue, a set of three words, or “elements,” are assigned and those who wish to publish a piece are required to find their own way to use the three elements. Marlon and Mikaela, the founders of 3Elements, practiced this exercise of including three given words to overcome writer’s block and wanted to share the experience with other writers. 3Elements asks contributors to focus on a character as opposed to plot. By having the three elements, there is no telling how far an author can stretch a word to fit into a piece, and the different directions that each individual story takes makes for an exciting read.


    Chicago Literati is currently featuring a Halloween themed issue that runs the entire month of October. Whether it is spooky short stories or a piece about the changing colors of fall, Chicago Literati accepts your Samhain submissions. Chicago Literati also interacts with writers through Twitter where six-word story contests are held. A prompt is given and writers tweet back, a winner is chosen, and the creation can be featured in an upcoming issue. Each issue of this journal also has a theme such as The Feminist Issue or The Starving Artist Issue in which writers produce stories that are centralized around the given theme.


    The Vignette Review, founded by Abigail Sheaffer (who is also the founder of Chicago Literati), is an outlet for writers who have a passion for short fiction and is still fairly young in the literary journal world. The Vignette focuses on more detailed stories that test writers’ abilities to capture a small moment in the world amongst noisier events. Stories must be between 300 and 900 words, pushing writers to include imagery detail in just a few pages.


    Flyleaf Journal is another exceptional journal that focuses on short fiction written by both novice and established writers, such as Alice Hoffman and Mort Castle. This monthly periodical publishes one short story accompanied by original cover art every month. The journal also began an audio edition on Youtube where readers and writers can enjoy listening to stories. The first audio edition features author Mort Castle in “Altenmoor, Where the Dogs Dance.”


    A very well-known literary journal and a self-proclaimed champion of emerging writers is Glimmer Train. They host one themed contest each month, open to seasoned and new writers. Very Short Fiction in July and October; Short Story Award for New Writers in February, May, August, and November; Fiction Open in June and December; Family Matters in September; and Standard Category in May and September. While they do charge submissions fees, they also award winners with prize money of up to $2,500.


    There is a journal out there for everyone, whether you are an author looking to be published or a reader who enjoys a wide variety of artistic talents condensed into one publication.

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    Literary Journals for New Writers

    Being published is an important part of a writer’s life, especially a new writer who is looking to be published for the first time. Literary journals for new writers offer flexibility and variety. Many times, literary journals for new writers are the first to acknowledge their potential and talent whether it is in poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. 3Elements Review is just one of many journals that is proud to publish new writers. We thrive on publishing pieces based on the quality of the writing, rather than the influence or fame of the writer.


    Joseph Wolfe was first published in 3Elements Review Issue no. 1 for his poem, He Saw Her One Day.


    She sat between the fiction writers and moonlighters

    Who haggle with stars over the price of sanity,

    Banging tin dreams against the bars of calamity


    In Issue no. 4, we were the first to publish Jesse Austin. Her poem. Remnants of Red, is very different stylistically from Wolfe’s, evoking an entirely different feeling:


    We breathe madness in carnivals,

    twist stomachs flapjacking,

    smash wallpaper with daring,

    dare careless down halls.


    The given elements always spark very different literature, and we welcome that.


    Literary journals for new writers tend to be run by established writers who were once looking to publish their work for the first time. These publications are open to a variety of submissions created by a variety of authors from around the country and the world.


    Perhaps the greatest part about literary journals for new writers is that in order to submit, you don’t have to have a long list of publications in the category you submit to. Authors and artists are given a welcoming environment to share their work that they have put a great amount of time and effort into. If we love the piece, we’ll happily publish it. If it’s not for us, we’ll kindly decline, but encourage you to keep working, keep submitting.

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