In part to make things easier when next year’s Million Writers Award rolls around, and in part to do my bit to publicize web-published fiction, I’m going to start a weekly “Some Stories I’ve Liked” feature. Since stories take a little longer to engage than photographs–with the “pictures I like” list, the decision to include it is usually a split-second “wow” moment, but stories need to be digested and worried and puzzled over a while–I’ll probably list just one or two a week. Of course, the output for stories is also a little bit slower: most of the photography sites I look at update daily or weekly; the journals that I’m going to cover here tend to be monthly or quarterly.
Like the Million Writers Award, I’m going to limit myself to the sites that are like literary journals, that have an editorial process and a (somewhat) regular publication schedule. No doubt there are a lot of great stories that are self-published, but (a) I’m lazy, and trust good editors to discern what stories deserve my time; and (b) I play in this particular space myself, and I like to see what my peers are up to. Unlike the Million Writers Award, I’m not going to limit my scope to 1,000 words or more; there’s a lot of fabulous “flash” fiction on the web, a medium that lends itself to quick reads, and I don’t want to overlook it.
Freeze by Becky Hagenston, for example, comes in about 250 words shy of 1,000, but nothing would be added by 250 more words. This is an unsettling little sketch, about sins of omission and the things that we miss, and it implies far more than it says.
She waited twenty-four hours before reporting her husband missing.