***image1***Smart ways to slack off online.


Five years ago Word Riot started as the lit section of an online music magazine. Now it has a regular monthly issue and a publishing imprint all its own. Word Riot features flash fiction (works under 1,000 words), short stories, poetry, nonfiction, interviews and reviews. What makes Word Riot stand out is its "stretching forms" category, where writers experiment with genre and create stories that are a mixture of poetry, prose, fiction and other literary devices. The cross-genre intellectual exercises are almost as inspiring as they are interesting to read.


Just because an author isn't a household name yet doesn't make him a bad writer. 3 AM Magazine has a knack for finding some of the strongest voices out there that haven't been heard yet and, well, getting them out there. In addition to the usual lit mag fare of fiction, poetry and prose, 3 AM is filled with music reviews, literary criticism and a blog that offers news and links around the globe about the sometimes obscure world of online literature.


A quarterly online magazine that takes its name from a Samuel Beckett quote, Fail Better seeks to mix great fiction, poetry and art with interviews of authors like Alice McDermott and Nick Hornsby. Though the content is sparse, the quality is sky-high. Many authors-or alumni, as the site calls them-have gone on to publish books and magazine articles in more mainstream circles. In addition to words, the site always has a "visuals" feature, which publishes the work of one chosen artist per issue. Many of the paintings reproduced on the Web site allude to stories themselves and make the cross-pollination of mediums an intriguing literary process.