How to Get Published in Southern Literary Journals and A Writing Prompt

I promised to provide some inspirational photos from my vacation so here they are, along with an inspirational, creative writing prompt.

Apparently, Savannah, Georgia is one huge graveyard.  When they wanted more space, the city decided to pave over huge sections of the original graveyard and build houses; also, some Civil War soldiers’ amputated body parts were hidden under floorboards in The Marshall House, all of which leads to a lot of modern day haunting.  Appropriately, one of the historical sites that the city ranks high on its list of “must-see” is the Bonaventure Cemetery.  I really like graveyards–and get oddly excited to visit new ones–so I dragged my reluctant boyfriend.  The gated cemetery was filled with a lot of:

  1. 1950s headstones (which was terribly disappointing because 1950s headstones are dime a dozen in practically every cemetery in the country) and;
  2. middle aged women in walking shoes and with cameras in hand.

“Why do women,” my boyfriend asked as we drove by them, “love graveyards so much?  I don’t understand.  I’ve never understood why you love graveyards.”

I thought about it for awhile.  “I guess it’s because they’re the shortest short stories.  You know, born, died.  I like imagining all the details in between.”

Writing Prompt

So, enjoy the pictures below and then go walk through a graveyard yourself.  Read some of the headstones (the older, the better!).  I challenge you to choose one of the long-gone individuals you find, keep their old-fashioned name, and fill in the gaps.  You can even write an epitaph poem if you’d like.  If you’ve ever visited the South before, infuse some of those experiences into your story.  Or maybe just decorate the setting with some Spanish moss.  Then, in a couple weeks when you’re happy with it, send it off to one of the following Southern magazines.

The view from the Tybee Island lighthouse.

Super long plantation driveway of Wormsloe historic site

Cockspur Island Lighthouse (minus the island)

If you writing is sub-3,500-words, consider Deep South magazine.

What submissions they accept: fiction, short stories and shorts, nonfiction and poetry.

Submission guidelines: you must have some sort of a connection to the South and be able to argue for it in your cover letter.

Submission Response Time: Unknown (sorry, I haven’t submitted to them before).

If you’re a local of the Greensboro, North Carolina region, there are two new journals calling for writing submissions.  A professor once told me that new literary journals and magazines are less likely to be picky and choosy because they don’t have a lot of submissions yet and also they haven’t totally defined their journal’s voice yet.  The philosophy has worked for me in the past, so check out O. Henry magazine and Plum Hamptons magazine.

Good luck with the writing and submissions!

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2 thoughts on “How to Get Published in Southern Literary Journals and A Writing Prompt

  1. Erin Z. Bass says:

    Thanks so much for mentioning Deep South Magazine! As editor, I can answer the question about response time. It can be anywhere from 1-3 months depending on how behind I get on email. We’ll consider any Southern writing – in author or subject matter – though.

    Enjoyed the post and also enjoy a good graveyard. I never really thought about why but think you may be onto something with the story explanation. On a recent trip to Key West, I was thrilled to discover our guest house was right next to a huge graveyard and wish I’d had more time to explore.

    Thanks again!

  2. hannahkarena says:

    Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing the information! I really appreciate it, as I’m sure our readers do! Personally, I have a couple short stories set in the South, but none as short as 3,500 words as of yet. As soon as I do, I look forward to submitting to your publication.

    Glad to know someone else who appreciates a good graveyard. If I ever visit I’ll make a point of checking it out :]

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