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In the world of literature, storytelling is king. Whether it’s a gripping novel, a haunting poem, or a thought-provoking essay, what ultimately draws us in and keeps us hooked is the power of a well-told story. And what better way to explore the vast and diverse landscape of storytelling than through the pages of a literary magazine?

Literary magazines provide a platform for both established and emerging writers to share their stories, their experiences, and their unique perspectives on the world. From the experimental to the traditional, the humorous to the thought-provoking, the stories found in these magazines push boundaries and challenge us to see the world in new ways.

But with so many literary magazines out there, how do you know which ones are worth your time? In this article, we’ll explore some of the best literary magazines available today, each one offering its own unique brand of storytelling magic. Whether you’re a seasoned reader or just starting to dip your toes into the world of literature, these magazines are sure to provide a rich and rewarding reading experience. So settle in, grab a cup of tea, and let’s dive into the world of literary storytelling.

The Paris Review

The Paris Review is a leading literary magazine that has been publishing since 1953. It features interviews with prominent writers, as well as stories, poetry, and essays. It is known for publishing the first works of many now-famous writers, including Jack Kerouac, Philip Roth, and V. S. Naipaul.


Granta is a British literary magazine that has been publishing for over 130 years. It features fiction, non-fiction, and poetry from established and emerging writers from around the world. Granta is known for its themed issues, which explore various topics from a literary perspective.


McSweeney’s is an independent publishing house that produces a literary magazine, as well as books and other projects. The magazine features humor, fiction, and non-fiction, and is known for its unique design and typography.

The Los Angeles Review

The Los Angeles Review is a quarterly literary magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews. It is known for its commitment to publishing diverse voices, with an emphasis on writers from the West Coast.

BOMB Magazine

BOMB Magazine is a quarterly publication that features interviews with artists, writers, and filmmakers, as well as works of fiction and poetry. It is known for its in-depth interviews with prominent writers and artists.

VQR Online

VQR Online is the online version of the Virginia Quarterly Review, a literary magazine that has been publishing since 1925. The online version features original works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as multimedia content, including videos and podcasts.


n+1 is a literary magazine that focuses on contemporary culture and politics. It features fiction, essays, and reviews, as well as translations of works from other languages. n+1 has been praised for its fresh and critical voice.

The White Review

The White Review is a quarterly literary magazine that features fiction, poetry, and essays, as well as interviews with writers and artists. It is known for its commitment to publishing new and experimental works.

Electric Lit

Electric Lit is an online literary magazine that features fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as critical essays and reviews. It is known for its commitment to publishing diverse voices and promoting emerging writers.

Music & Literature

Music & Literature is a biannual literary magazine that features works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as interviews with writers, musicians, and artists. It is known for its innovative approach to publishing, which combines literature with music and other art forms.

The Stinging Fly

The Stinging Fly is an Irish literary magazine that features poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as interviews with writers and artists. It is known for its commitment to promoting emerging Irish writers.

Flaneur Magazine

Flaneur Magazine is a biannual publication that explores different neighborhoods around the world through literature and photography. Each issue focuses on a specific neighborhood, providing a unique perspective on the area.


Freeman’s is a biannual literary magazine that features works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as interviews with writers and artists. It is known for its themed issues, which explore different topics from a literary perspective.

Guernica Mag

Guernica Mag is an online literary magazine that features fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as interviews with writers and artists. It is known for its commitment to promoting social justice issues through literature.


Visions is an online literary magazine that features original works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as artwork and photography. It is known for its commitment to publishing new and experimental works.

ThreePenny Review

ThreePenny Review is a quarterly literary magazine that features fiction, poetry, and essays, as well as book reviews. It is known for its commitment to publishing works from emerging writers, as well as established ones.

American Chordata

American Chordata is a biannual literary magazine that features works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as artwork and photography. It is known for its commitment to publishing diverse voices and promoting emerging writers.

Zoetrope: All-Story

Zoetrope: All-Story is a quarterly literary magazine that features fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as artwork and photography. It is known for its commitment to publishing works from emerging writers, as well as established ones.

New Criterion

New Criterion is a monthly literary magazine that features literary and cultural criticism, as well as essays and reviews. It is known for its conservative perspective and its commitment to high literary standards.


And that, my dear reader, is the magic of literary magazines. They are portals to other worlds, other stories, other lives. They are the doorways that lead us to new perspectives, and the keys that unlock our imaginations. As a writer and reader, I can attest to the immense value of these magazines in shaping and expanding our literary horizons. So go forth, dear reader, and seek out these literary gems. The world of storytelling is waiting for you, and the possibilities are endless.


Collaborative Storytelling: The Art of Writing Together

When it comes to writing, there’s no one right way to do it. Some writers prefer to work alone, while others enjoy the collaboration that comes with working with a partner or group.

Collaborative storytelling is a process where multiple writers work together on one story. This can be done in a variety of ways, from assigning each writer a specific part of the story to working on the story together in real time.

No matter how you do it, collaborative storytelling is a great way to learn and grow as a writer. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of collaborative storytelling and offer some tips for making it work well.

What Is Collaborative Storytelling?

Imagine this: you and a group of friends sit down to write a story together. You take turns creating scenes, adding characters, and weaving the plot into something amazing.

This is collaborative storytelling, and it’s a great way to get creative juices flowing. Not only that, but you also get to learn about the art of writing. When you work with other writers, you get to see how they approach storytelling, and you can learn a lot from their narrative techniques.

Plus, it’s just plain fun. So why not give it a try?

What Are the Benefits of Writing Together?

When it comes to collaborative storytelling, the benefits are clear. For one, creativity is boosted when writers work together. Ideas can bounce off each other, and the finished product is often richer and more nuanced than if a single writer had tackled the project alone.

But collaborative writing isn’t just good for the creative process—it can also be great preparation for future teamwork endeavors. When authors learn to write together, they’re learning how to communicate, compromise, and work towards a common goal. Plus, they’re practicing the all-important skill of editing.

Finally, collaborative writing can be faster than solo writing. Two minds are often better than one when it comes to generating ideas and fleshing out a story.

How Can You Find Collaborators?

It’s no secret that writing can be a lonely business. You sit down in front of your computer, and you’re essentially talking to yourself for hours on end. But what if you could find collaborators to help you tell your story?

But communication is key is ANY kind of collaboration, especially in writing because a story can’t be developed when its writers are not communicating.

So how do you find collaborators? Well, there are a few ways. You can join a writer’s group, or post an ad online looking for people who are interested in collaborating on a project. You can also attend writing workshops and pitch your project to other writers there.

Here are a few websites:

What Are the Best Practices for Writing Together?

When it comes to writing collaboratively, there are a few key things to remember. First of all, it’s important to have clearly defined roles when working with other writers. One person might be in charge of the plot, another might be responsible for the characters, and so on. That way, everyone knows what they’re responsible for and there aren’t any misunderstandings.

Be flexible and open to criticism when co-writing a novel. It’s inevitable that not everyone will agree on everything, but by remaining calm and professional, you can work through any disagreements that come up. Most importantly, enjoy the process! Writing together can be a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to get to know other authors in your genre.

How Can You Make Sure Everyone’s Voices Are Heard?

When it comes to collaborative storytelling, there are two things you need to keep in mind: how the story is told, and how the writing is done.

At the story level, it’s important to make sure everyone’s voices are heard. This can be done by sharing personal stories or by giving everyone a chance to contribute to the plot. No one should feel left out, and everyone should feel like they’re part of the team.

At the writing level, it’s important to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute. This means that everyone gets an equal number of words, and no one person is in control of the story. It can be helpful to use a collaborative writing tool, like Google Docs, so that everyone can see what’s happening in real-time.

What Are the Challenges of Writing Together?

It’s important to have a mutual understanding of what collaborative storytelling is before diving in. When multiple writers work together on a story, they usually bounce ideas off each other until they find the right chemistry. This is a process that takes time and patience.

But what happens when there are conflicting opinions on how to progress the story? This is where things can get tricky. It’s essential that all writers involved are willing to listen to each others’ ideas, and be respectful of each other’s contributions. When this doesn’t happen, it can become hard to continue writing the story.


So what is collaborative storytelling? It’s exactly what it sounds like: Writing a story together, with multiple people contributing to the narrative. It can be a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to get to know other writers.

But it’s not just about having fun. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to write collaboratively. First, make sure everyone involved has a clear understanding of the story and the characters. Next, establish some ground rules: How much input each writer has, how often everyone meets, etc.

Finally, be patient. Writing together can take time, but the end result is usually worth it.


Master storyteller Robert McKee defined three categories of thoughts and feelings a character experiences:

The said are those ideas and emotions a character chooses to express to others; the unsaid are those thoughts and feelings a character expresses in an inner voice but only to himself; the unsayable are those subconscious urges and desires a character cannot express in words, even to himself, because they are mute and beyond awareness.

Robert McKee, Dialogue

I never thought about it with such clarity, but now that I read it, I can’t not see every thought and idea through this lens anymore.

Is this something that’s said? Something that a person either said out loud, or revealed and shared through other means—which don’t necessarily have to be verbal. The said can also be the way a man in smiles at the woman he loves, or the wild gesticulations of a man in the grip of road rage.

Is it something that’s unsaid? The secret doubts about her own self-worth a stunningly beautiful woman hides behind her perfect appearance, or the the schemes working within the mind of a conman.

Is it something that’s unsayable? An unknown fear that’s rooted in an early childhood trauma, which drives a now grown-up man to never fully open up, to always keep his guard up, even amongst friends and loved ones.

We all carry the said, the unsaid, and the unsayable within us, and so do the characters in our stories. Getting to know them will give them—and ourselves—more depth and a more intensely lived life.


Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and the Power of Stories

We’ve all heard the story of entrepreneurial superkind Elizabeth Holmes and her revolutionary healthcare company Theranos… which turned out to be a major scam.

jonwu.eth recently published a little anecdote that shows how much of the power of storytelling played a role in this debacle.

He got offered a job at Theranos after it was already public knowledge that this company was a big fraud—and yet his professor from Harvard Business School not just introduced him to Theranos, but strongly recommended that he’d take the job.

He describes the first encounter he had with Elizabeth Holmes as follows.

She walked in the room, fully confident, not defensive at all, and fully owning her mistakes… at least that’s the impression she made, and she pretended that her mistakes weren’t what the public perception was, but simply that she rushed to market too quickly.

Apparently she offered him a job and told him that she needs someone who believes in her and can help her to become the CEO she knew she could be. Very compelling. She made him feel special, as if she’d see something great and amazing within him.

If you think of personality falling on a spectrum:
One side being fully authentic
The other being fully anufactured
The spectrum curves around like a horseshoe, such that the ends look remrkably similar.
For the life of me I could not tell which end she fell on.


In the end, he didn’t accept the job, but he took away three insights. The other two, I suggest you read for yourself because the entire twitter thread is well worth reading (and literally just takes a minute), but for the purpose of this post, I want to focus on the final one, which is about the power of stories:


Even the Meaningless Can Be Meaningful in Story

Few people would think that a visit to McDonalds or Starbucks deserved to be called a meaningful event. But events are only meaningful in the context of the person experiencing and telling them.

But how about this? You’re a little girl in Russia, just shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, you’ve experienced food shortages, and then, one day, the first McDonalds opens. That iconic brand you’ve heard about in movies and on TV. It’s a big deal.

Getting some fries, a milkshake and a burger was a big deal—in fact, for many people it was the equivalent of a week’s worth of wages.

And you’d stand in line for three hours waiting for your turn.

Imagine that. You can almost sense the excitement people felt, trying something for the very first time that you’ve never had, and yet that was one of the most popular “restaurants” in the world.

I personally don’t eat that crap—but I totally can imagine what it must have felt like back in those days. Eugenia Kuyda shared this story in an episode of Lex Fridman’s podcast, and it was just a beautiful example of even the most hollow and mundane experiences can make for deeply emotional and meaningful stories.


Esther Perel on the Power of Stories

Esther Perel shared a great video on the power of stories—the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the stories we tell others, and what role they play in our life.

What are the stories that embolden us?

What are the stories that entrap you?

My favorite part is really the takehome exercise towards the end of the video, which I’ve also written up at the bottom of this post.

You’ll find that sometimes a story might both embolden you in some situations, and entrap you in others.

  • 3:40 Our stories help us connect to others. They help us understand our past. Who we were then, who we are now, and who we could become in the future.
  • Love is a story. Heartbreak is a story. Our memories are stories.
  • Stories bring the world to us through bedtime stories.
  • Do you remember childhood stories that you wanted to hear again and again?
  • Stories find us while we get lost in them.
  • We tell stories to introduce ourselves to other people.
  • We like to tell stories of artists we’ve discovered. Social media is basically just stories, often very intimate ones.
  • Sometimes, stories supersede the truth.
  • Have you ever caught yourself making unfair assumptions about someone else? Unfair assumptions are a story
  • Do you often find yourself explaining why you are the way you are to someone who interprets your story as an excuse?
  • Ask yourself: What if you’re actually trapped in your own story?
  • Whether a story is true or not—does it serve you?
  • Example of mini-stories we use to justify our own behavior:
    • Because I’m so busy, I’m always late.
    • Because my brother stole my toys, I can steal from others.
    • Because I’m independent, I don’t need anybody else.
  • the stories we tell ourselves are often reminders and act as protection and prevention, they were often adaptive responses to a traumatic life plot. we came up with our stories for some reason.
  • our own narratives banish our helplessness and make us able and strong
  • if a date is late, we might immediately default to our story that “i’m not important”, but this sometimes prevents us from experiencing reality
  • writing new stories isn’t just about letting go of the heroes story that has led us to where we are now, it’s also about developing a new hero, to get us on a new journey
  • we can add to our story, edit it, refine it, lead it. it’s an creative act of agency
  • 15:15 How do you know when you’re trapped in a story?
  • For the first therapy session Esther conducts with a client, she always has 2 goals:
    • establish a connection, build an alliance
    • have the person come in with one story, and leave with the potential of another stories (or at the very least, pieces that have the potential for another story) – the potential for transformation. From being stuck, to movement, from repetition to change.
  • we are not in control of how life unfolds, but we have agency about how we structure and interpret it.
  • new interpretations give us options and liberate us, they can create hope and possibility for change

Takehome exercise to create new stories, and edit old ones

At 21 minutes into the video, Esther Perel then shares a takehome exercise. She provides a couple of prompts, questions to answer on your own:

  • How does anxiety talk to you? What does it say? How does say it? What does it want you to believe? How does it influence your interaction with others? How does it block you?
  • What do you say to yourself, when you want permission to try something new? How does that voice speak to you?
  • What is the dialogue between the part of you that fears the worst and the part of you that dreams about more? What’s the dialogue between the constriction and the expansion, between the fear and the boldness?
  • What do you want to say to the person who still looks at you with the eyes of the past and doesn’t see all the changes you’ve made? We all can encounter this—we meet people and they still talk to you as if you’re the 16 year old they once knew, even when you’re 45 now.
  • If you wrote the story of your life up to this point, what would the chapters be named? These chapters might be connected to the people who were closest to you, or they might relate to economic circumstances, or health, or simply chronologically.
  • If you wrote the story of your future, what would the chapters be named?

To me, this is a wonderful exercise, and well worth doing. In fact, you might look at this and think: Oh, that’s a good idea, I’ll do that sometime. I’d encourage you to do it right now, even if you have to squeeze it into five minutes, rather than taking a full hour to do it sometime later. (You’ll most likely won’t get around to it, even if you have the sincere intent to do so—but if you take 5 minutes right now, you’ll still get 80% of the benefit of doing the exercise)


Storytelling master Robert McKee shared how he thinks about finding a characters inner flaw. Giving your main characters a flaw, even if it’s the protagonist and hero of the story, is key to making the character more relatable and believable. You give your character dimension through contradiction. (Otherwise, you end up with ridiculously dumb characters like the kind you find in Wonderwoman 1984).

His advice is simple: Look for

Step 1: Define what a flaw is? Now obvious, a flaw is a negative trait, but you want to be more specific here. One example is a person that’s unable to love—that’s an obvious flaw. But another example of a flaw is a person that loves so fully, so completely, and so easily that it renders them unable to live a productive life. That too can be a flaw. Which is why you want to define the nature of the flaw in the context of your story.

Step 2: List the positive qualities of your character. And then look at each of these qualities and ask yourself: What’s the opposite of that? For example, if the character is very intelligent and smart, then ask yourself: In what are of their life do they behave really stupid? What’s their blindspot? No matter what their IQ is, this one thing they just don’t understand and can’t quite wrap their head around. Name that. That can be your characters flaw.

Now this doesn’t work for every character and every positive quality, but when you make the list of positive qualities, and their opposites, you will come across some where you find they really could be in the nature of this character.


“we do not wish to escape life but to find life, to use our minds in fresh, experimental ways, to flex our emotions, to enjoy, to learn, to add depth to our days”

Robert McKee, Story

When I read these words, they resonated the way deep and obvious truths resonate when you see them clearly for the first time.

For the longest time, I had this underlying notion that a good part of our craving for story is rooted in that desire to escape our current reality. But this, what Robert McKee addressed here, hits the nail on the head so much more.

Later he elaborates again on this:

To retreat behind the notion that the audience simply wants to dump its troubles at the door and escape reality is a cowardly abandonment of the artist’s responsibility. Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence.

McKee, Robert. Story (p. 12).

Stories are this magical vehicle that takes our minds, but even more importantly our souls to a different place that we can’t quite reach by other means.

He also stresses the importance of honest, powerful storytelling:

as Aristotle observed twenty-three hundred years ago, when storytelling goes bad, the result is decadence. Flawed and false storytelling is forced to substitute spectacle for substance, trickery for truth. Weak stories, desperate to hold audience attention, degenerate into multimillion-dollar razzle-dazzle demo reels. In Hollywood imagery becomes more and more extravagant, in Europe more and more decorative. The behavior of actors becomes more and more histrionic, more and more lewd, more and more violent. Music and sound effects become increasingly tumultuous. The total effect transudes into the grotesque. A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.

Robert McKee, Story

While personally I think that there still is plenty of great storytelling around (but who am I to judge?), there also is a lot of real bad, flat storytelling around. Wonderwoman 1984 anyone? It’s bad from minute 1, and downhill from thereon. Where can you find depth in that movie? Or truth?


One of the best pieces of storytelling in movies I’ve recently seen is the movie White Tiger.

Director Ramin Bahrani spoke about the creation process of the movie.

There were two interesting things about the creative process in there that stood out to me:

The movie is based on the book by Aravind Adiga, and Ramin and Aravind have been friends who always talked about movies in college. Ramin actually read early drafts of the book before it came out, and Aravind has often been giving feedback on scripts Ramin worked on. So there’s a long history of the two of them jamming on stories together already, which is always something that I find beautiful.

When making a book into a movie, how do you decide what to keep and what to discard?

[Minute 4:40 in the video] This was one of the hardest parts of making this movie for Ramin. He liked the book so much that at first he just included everything he likes from the book and ended up with a 200-page script. A movie script is normally 90-120 pages long, so what followed was a painful process of cutting out parts of the story.

On team: “I don’t want them to just execute my vision. I want them to bring something to it, to make it more.”

[Minute 6:50 in the video] Trust your team. Typically non-Indians shooting movies in India bring a big crew with them, but he didn’t want to do this. He brought around five people of his own crew with him, and the rest of the team was Indian. His crew was 99% Indian. Passionate, dedicated, talented people.

Arrive with a detailed plan, but then change everything in the moment

[Minute 10:30 in the video] “The production allowed me to do what I really want, which is freedom on set. To be loose on set. I like to show up with a very detailed plan. I’m hyper-organized. And I have a very clear plan. But then I always show up and want to change everything. Because I see things in that moment that inspire me, and I’m challenging my actors to do whatever they want to do, not what I want them to do. And that means freedom. And the crew here gave me that […]”


The 8 stages of story design by Robert McKee

According to Robert McKee, there are 8 essential stages every story moves through:

  1. Target audience = A meaningful emotional effect
  2. Subject matter = Balance
  3. Inciting Incidence = Imbalance
  4. Object of desire = Need
  5. First action = Tactical choice
  6. Reaction = Violation of expectation
  7. Crisis choice = Insight
  8. Climactic reaction = closure

He lays these 8 stages of story design out clearly in his book Storynomics. Here’s my summary:

Target audience = A meaningful emotional effect

Who is your audience? And how will the story make them feel and think?

Subject matter = Balance

What value is the protagonist’s life anchored in? What time, and in which physical and social world does he live in? While there might be minor ups and downs, overall the value it’s balanced, more or less neutral, it all evens out.

Inciting incident = Imbalance

What unforeseen incident upsets the balance of the core character’s life? It’s a radical change that puts the character under pressure. It can be a turn for the good or bad.

The object of desire = An unfulfilled need

How does the core character want to get his life back in balance? It’s the object of desire that the core character believes will help him accomplish this. The object of desire can be, but doesn’t have to be an actual physical object.

The first action = Tactical choice

What does the core character do to rebalance his life? How does he act in order to get a reaction from his world that will get him (or at least move him closer to) his object of desire?

The first reaction = The violation of expectation

What unforeseen antagonistic forces block the protagonist’s efforts? What’s the gap that cracked open between what he thought would happen and what did happen? How does this reaction move the protagonist farther from his goal?

The crisis choice = Insight

What does the protagonist learn from the first reaction? Now that he’s in even greater jeopardy of losing his object of desire, what second action does he choose? Note that this second action must be more difficult and more risky than the first action, but it’s the action that the protagonist believes gives him the best chances of getting him what he wants.

Climactic reaction = Closure

What climactic reaction happens that grants the protagonist his object of desire? How does it restore the core character’s life to balance, and end the story?