Previous Issue

3LBE #23

News

December 22, 2013 — Issue 24 published today with six new stories of weird, wonder, and horror!

November 20, 2013 — We're working on the next issue, due by year's end, and always reading submissions.

Submission Guidelines

Three-lobed Burning Eye is a speculative fiction magazine published online twice per year (usually May and October) and print anthology (every other year). Each issue features six stories. Payment to writers is 3¢ per word (up to US$35 maximum), plus one contributor’s copy of the annual. Our terms are: first electronic rights, with non-exclusive archival rights, one-time print anthology rights, and optional first audio rights. Payment is made within 30 days of publication via PayPal. Beginning with issue #20, we additionally offer the magazine in PDF format.

Editor: Andrew S. Fuller

Our Needs

Fiction only.
Short stories: 7,000 words maximum
Flash fiction: 500–1,000 words (less often, 1–2 per issue)
Simultaneous submissions: No
Multiple submissions: No
Reprints: No
Payment: 3¢/word ($35max)
Submit via: online form (linked below)
Response time: within 90 days
Reading period: Always open

We are looking for quality speculative fiction, in the vein of horror and dark fantasy, what you might call magical realism, slipstream, cross genre, or weird fiction. We will consider the occasional science fiction, suspense, or western story, though we prefer that it contain some speculative element. Sword & sorcery, hard SF, space opera, and extreme horror are hard sells. We like voices both literary and pulpy, with unique and flowing but not experimental styles. All labels aside, we want stories that expand genre, that value originality in character, narrative, and plot. Send only your best fiction, distinct and remarkable tales that the reader cannot forget. We encourage diverse authors, characters and points of view, inclusive of all races, cultures, genders and orientations. Please read a few issues before submitting.

Our recent issues include audio readings. If your story is accepted, you’ll have the opportunity to record your story, or ask that one of our readers do so for you.

We do not publish: non-fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, memoir, fan or franchise tie-in fiction (Star Trek, Buffy, D&D), serial stories, or novel excerpts. We do not publish erotica, per se.

We are not currently considering outside artwork.

For legal reasons, writers must be 18 years of age.

Indeed, 3LBE’s title does echo a line in an H.P. Lovecraft story, but our publication is not a themed anthology of Cthulhu Mythos tributes. Please take note of this trend in our published stories and your submission. While we’re open to the occasional “Lovecraftian” tale, we prefer that you make the story your own.

How to Submit

We only accept electronic submissions. Please use the online submission form (linked below). Do not submit via email. If after 90 days you do not hear from us, feel free to query.

We do not publish reprints, including any piece previously appearing online.

Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation are assumed characteristics of a professional manuscript.

Formatting: Please convert smart curly quotation marks (“ ”) to straight quotes (" ") in your word processing software before cutting and pasting into our online form. This includes single quote marks and apostrophes (‘’). Also replace em-dashes(—) with double hyphens(--). Tabs will be preserved, extra spaces between paragraphs are unnecessary.

Submissions not following these guidelines will be deleted unread.

If you receive a rejection, please wait a minimum of seven (7) days before submitting again. Please do not resubmit revisions of stories that have been rejected unless specifically asked to do so.

We regret that we are often unable to offer feedback on stories.

If the story appears later in another venue, please credit 3LBE as the first publication.

We prefer that 3LBE contributors wait two issues before submitting again.

Advice

Read some issues of 3LBE to understand what we publish. Write something better. Be original. We want only your best.

Read and know good fiction in the SF/F/H grenres and other genres before you write it. Be aware of the clichés, the hackneyed plots and language, the cheap thrills. There is nothing inherently wrong with tropes like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, serial killers, faeries, and aliens; but 3LBE is interested in new explorations of these ideas.

Know what is gratuitous, and avoid excessive depictions and descriptions of sex, violence, gore, racism, or sexism. Extremity belongs in a story only if it is relevant to the narrative.

Beware cleverness. Writers such as O. Henry, Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch were masters of the twist ending. Such structures are difficult to do well, and we are not interested in instant gratification stories whose brief and empty narrative serves as a ramp to a final trick. We are not interested in glaring devices. We are looking for depth, texture, and imagination.

We don’t have our own list of plot clichés, but if you're curious as to what kinds of stories too many people are writing, see these:

Horrible Clichés to Avoid
Mistakes in Writing by Roger MacBride Allen at SFWA
Stories and Horror Stories Seen Too Often at Strange Horizons

We expect professional behavior from our contributors. This includes following submission guidelines.

Please feel free to report our response times to
Duotrope's Digest

duotrope
or
Critter's Black Hole tracker

Recommended Reading

American Fantastic Tales ed. Peter Straub
The Book of Fantasy ed. Jorge Luis Borges
Borderlands ed. Thomas F. Monteleone
Dangerous Visions ed. Harlan Ellison
Mammoth Book of Best New Horror ed. Stephen Jones
The New Weird ed. Ann & Jeff Vandermeer
Year's Best Fantasy and Horror ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling et al.
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

A few writers we enjoy:
Shirley Jackson, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Arthur Machen, Harlan Ellison, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, Lucius Shepherd, Clive Barker, Italio Calvino, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Flannery O’Connor, Ursula K. Le Guin, Richard Matheson, John Shirley, Jeffrey Ford, Kathe Koja, Michael Cisco, China Mieville, J. G. Ballard, M.R. James… to name a few

 

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