All of us have had our fair share of weird thoughts throughout our lives. The good news is those thoughts are fodder for writers to pen odd stories even though we’re not quite sure where we’re going to publish them. Many of these weird stories don’t fit into any specified genre. Oftentimes, we put those pieces of prose on the back burner, and return to them a few times a year with the hopes of finding a home. But, what are we to do without a genre?
Fortunately, weird is its own category and there are literary magazines and sites that allow authors to embrace their weird thoughts. They even specify they’re looking for those odd, quirky stories that don’t fit conventional publication molds. Does your story fall into this category or is it a part of a well-defined category like surrealism?
Here’s the thing. Weird is abstract and that’s good for us writers. It’s defined by Merriam-Webster as “of strange or extraordinary character” and by the Cambridge Dictionary as “very strange and unusual, unexpected or not natural.” So, anything supernatural or outside the norm would fit into the weird slot but, usually, those sites that are looking for strange stories already know they aren’t interested in supernatural or fantasy.
So, how do you know if your story fits into this “way out there” genre? One way, of course, is to read some weird stories, like those that are published by the magazines below. You can also check out some others like BookRiot suggests.
The other way is to share your story with friends or an online writing group. If you get furrowed brows with little or no feedback, you’re probably on the right track because most readers don’t know how to define the strange.
You’ll also know if, after writing something, you think, “What did I just write?” Because, let’s face it, we do know when something we’ve written is spectacularly original, and way beyond the scope of ordinary. You know. WEIRD. Fortunately, that’s the exact type of writing these magazines are searching for.
Weird Little Words – Right in their submission guidelines they ask you to give them something they don’t expect. They want new ideas and new angles. They admit they’re still working out the quirks on payment but say that exposure is not a viable currency for their business, and they consider writers valuable. Pays .05/word.
Bourbon Penn -They specifically look for “highly imaginative stories with a healthy dose of the odd. Odd characters, odd experiences, odd realities.” They pay $0.03 per word and are looking for 2,000-7,500 word stories.
Intrinsick – Their header says it all as they are looking for funny, weird, what-the-eff stories. They accept submissions year-round but admit they only read intermittently. So you might have a wait until you hear back from them. They pay a $10 flat fee per story.
Boyfriend Village/Black Warrior Review – They have two reading periods per year, and look for stories that don’t fit elsewhere, specifically “work that familiarizes the strange and mystifies the familiar.” They pay with a one-year subscription to the magazine and a “nominal lump sum fee.”
Though the pay rates for weird stories aren’t spectacular, they can be a good way to get your foot in the door with literary magazines. On top of that, if you’re going to write weird anyway, you might as well get paid something for it.
Rachel Carrington is a published author and freelance writer. She has written for The Writer, The Writers’ Journal, Startrek.com, WritersWeekly.com, and the New York Times. Her website is rachelcarrington.com.
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