Although I have published stories in some of the online crime zines, I'd love to get a story in EQMM or AHMM. I've read them over the years but am still not sure if the story I'm now writing is right for them. What would you list as some of the qualities they're looking for in a story because I do think they have something fairly particular in mind. Or is it pretty useless to try them if you don't have a novel under your belt?

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I've always heard that AHMM is easier to get into for writers without novels, but I've never tried. Personally, I think there's no harm in submitting if you're willing to wait. And you did get in Murdaland, so I'm sure you won't have problems on the quality side of things.

I wonder if clicking my fingers will get Mr. Wignall to pipe in on this?

*click*
Thanks. Daniel. I'll try them first. I think a PG rated story is essential too and it is that.
Always submit to the top magazines first. Both EQMM and AHMM publish new writers. AHMM gave me my start. I was so thrilled that I have stayed loyal to them, and they have never rejected a story afterward. The editors of both are wonderful people.
Both magazines publish a variety of story types. Possibly EQMM leans a little more toward the hardboiled, while AHMM includes historicals in its offerings.
But submit to both by all means.
Thanks for mentioning this, Ingrid. I had thought of those magazines as way out of my reach, but I'll have to look at the material I have to see if any would be appropriate.
Unless you're a big name, I really don't think your credentials matter that much. The writing and story is what counts. However, both magazines seem to favor short stories written as small novels, that is structured like this:

1) Intro/Crime Committed
2) Protag uncovers clue
3) Protag uncovers more clues.
4) Protag uncovers more clues.
5) Protag solves crime.

A lot of short stories though are not written that way, including many works that can be called crime fiction. These stories, to my mind, seem to be more character driven and less about the plot or solving the crime.

Also, both mags tend to shy away from four-letter words, sex, and graphic violence.
Wow. That's not my story at all. My story is completely character driven although a crime finally takes place. It's not about solving a crime--it's about why one is committed. Like the stories I've published on the online zines, I guess. I guess I'll try AHMM but probably it's hopeless if they want that kind of story. Thanks for laying it out, Harry.
The question is, are you reading the magazines to see what they're publishing? The latest EQMM, for example, has an Ed Gorman story that's only marginally a crime story. No clues, no detection. The Clark Howard entry is an adventure story. Lawrence Block's is a poker story, with a twist. Loren Estleman's is also only marginally a crime story; like Ed's, it's character-driven. Check 'em out, and you'll see that there's no formula involved.
Good point. It's probably been a year since I've read an issue of either. So many words out there, so little time . . .
I read them now and then but not enough to really get it. I wished my library carried it. Hard to get more than the current issue. Thanks.

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