Very short fiction + online publishing saved literature. Saved the world, even. We don't have to argue about it anymore. Here's the Wigleaf Top 50 and its accompanying Longlist of the best very short fiction published online in 2012. Read these stories like you used to read stories when you were eleven.

We must thank the amazing Danielle Evans, author of the multi-award winning 2010 collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, for serving as our Top 50 selecting editor. It's a stunning list, and the best yet.

This year's Top 50 is the sixth, and we changed the process a bit. Erin Fitzgerald, Sean Lovelace, Mel Bosworth, Scott Garson, and I did most of the reading for the long list, with GIANT help from Katrina Denza, Shome Dasgupta, Tawnysha Greene, and Marcelle Heath. (Thank you Dream Team!) That's a lot of staff, but we did not all huddle in a room and vote on stories like a college lit mag. We each had our own territories, and everyone's picks were what they were: the best, as determined by the individual heart. My job came down to keeping things tidy for the most part. As the first woman to serve as series editor, I should note that Wigleaf and the Wigleaf Top 50 have always been—by nature not design—gender balanced, and if that sounds like low praise indeed, go check the latest VIDA Women in Literary Arts stats, then come back and look at our roster. So, with such a superior selection and the accidental equity of the longlist, I have a suggestion: If you know someone who is beginning a love affair with the written word (like an eleven year old), point them here. I feel confident that we can continue to rehabilitate the literary landscape if we turn these fine pleasures, represented as they are, into formative ones.

(One last thank you: Tang Yau Hoong! For providing Top 50 cover art for the second straight year.)

Notes on Eligibility:

The Wigleaf Top 50 are chosen from a Longlist of about 200 stories. Stories have to be at or under 1000 words to be eligible, and must have been posted sometime during the previous calendar year. Stories in blogzines are not considered (unless the blog is part of a larger journal with external hosting). Reprints are not considered. Stories appearing in journals based outside the U.S. are not considered (unless that journal's billing is explicitly international). Stories that are not published and/or archived in HTML are not considered. Stories without unique HTML urls are not considered, unless they are part of sets by the same author. And stories written by Wigleaf editors or appearing in Wigleaf itself are not considered. If you're an editor and want to make sure that your journal's very short fiction is considered for the next Wigleaf Top 50, please shoot us an email.

Bonus questions:

-Did you know that in 2008, when SG posted the first Top 50, Wigleaf had a Myspace page?

-Writers, would you rather publish a story in Wigleaf or in the Top 50?

-Why is the Longlist so cool? 

Laura Ellen Scott is the author of DEATH WISHING, a novel, and CURIO, a collection of very short fictions. She teaches at George Mason University.

To link to this directly: http://wigleaf.com/13top50foreword.htm

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