Fatal Flaw is a triannual online magazine publishing unexpected, topical writing and photography that considers the world through a cracked lens. We seek work that finds poignancy in unexpected places, confronts the status quo and, most importantly, prompts discussion about the human condition in these uncertain times. Give us fractured inner monologues, messy reckonings, imperfect catharses. Show us the fatal flaw and the beauty inherent within it.
We publish poetry, fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, photography, and visual art in themed issues. Reading starts anew with each issue. For announcements on current or upcoming themes, please be sure to monitor our website or social media.
We welcome submissions from writers of all backgrounds – from the emerging and unpublished to the established – and especially encourage submissions from those who identify as persons of color, multiracial, indigenous, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and anyone belonging to a community of underrepresented voices. We currently offer free submissions to BIPOC and other underrepresented writers and artists in all genres.
General submissions are open for Vol. 10: WITNESS.
Submission period: September 18 to October 22
Intimate knowledge of an accident or crime. Loving presence at a sacrament. Affirmation of the divine. For Volume 10, Fatal Flaw invites you to send us your work on the theme Witness.
Witness may be an act we take willingly, or a trauma thrust upon us – either way, it can come to define us: having witnessed, one becomes the witness. What does this experience do to us? What responsibility – even complicity – does it imply? What marks does it leave? How does it bind us to others, and how does it tear us apart?
Send us fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that implicates us in your misdeeds, that compels us to stand up for you in critical moments, that traces the scars you never deserved. Send us visual art and photography that shines a light on things we wish we had not seen, that unearths the hidden memories of otherwise ordinary corners of the world. Send us work that testifies to a personal experience beyond the boundaries of your being. We can’t wait to see what you share with us.
Are simultaneous submissions allowed?
Yes, we encourage them! Just let us know in your cover letter. And if your piece is accepted elsewhere, please let us know as soon as possible by withdrawing your piece (for prose, visual art, and photography) or alerting us via Submittable messaging (for poetry), so that we can congratulate you and remove you from consideration.
How long should I expect to wait for a response?
Submitting to literary journals is a loooong process (we’ve been there, we know). But it’s a pretty time-consuming process on our end too, and we want to give each piece the time and attention it deserves. We typically respond within 3-8 weeks of submission, but please allow 4 months before querying.
Does Fatal Flaw pay its contributors?
Short answer: we would love to. Long answer: as a fledgling journal, we can’t at this time. However, this is something that we are actively working towards. As artists ourselves, it is our firm belief that we should get paid for our creations!
Can I submit an excerpt from my novel?
This is a tricky one. If you think the excerpt or chapter can stand on its own and is relevant to our theme, then send it our way. But our ultimate aim is to showcase poetry, short fiction and nonfiction, so your work may be more applicable to another journal.
Does Fatal Flaw charge for submissions?
We charge a $3 fee to supplement costs of operation. However, we offer free submissions to BIPOC and other underrepresented writers and artists.
Is Fatal Flaw a print journal?
Nope, online only, baby! But who knows what the future holds…
What type of rights does Fatal Flaw retain? And honestly, what does that even mean?
Fatal Flaw retains First Serial Rights, but otherwise the work and the rights belong to you, meaning that we’ll publish it first, but once we do, feel free to include it in that short story collection you’ve been wanting to put together!
We also retain non-exclusive archival rights, which means that you will continue to be able to find and link to your work on our website after the issue’s publication date.
What type of editing do you do once a piece is accepted?
We work closely with writers to sharpen and refine work where needed (really, we just want to help make your piece the best it can be!). Usually, this just means minor copyedits, but occasionally our edits are more substantial. That being said, all final editing decisions are at the discretion of the writer.
As for visual artists and photographers, we may ask you to resize your files upon acceptance in order to abide by our web host's guidelines.