Snap Judgment Halloween3 min read


Apex Magazine
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Apex Magazine is excited to present SNAP JUDGMENT: The Halloween Edition, episode 5 of our rapid-fire, live-streaming critique series.

Every quarter, industry professionals Jason Sizemore, Lesley Conner, and a special guest offer live feedback on the first page (up to 250 words) of genre short stories or novels submitted by our backers. For our Halloween Edition, we are looking for your horror and dark fiction. Send us your spookiest, weirdest, and creepiest story openings! 

Snap Judgment Halloween Edition will be livestreamed on Wednesday, October 26, 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. CT, 3 p.m. UTC).  

We are pleased to announce that our special guest editor for this event is editor and writer Alex Woodroe. Aly Grauer returns as host and narrator.


Our host reads the submissions aloud (without identifying the author). If at any point our panelists feel they would stop reading and reject the piece from their slush pile, they raise their hand. If all three hands are raised, our narrator stops reading.

Each panelist then gives their feedback on the opening: what works for them, what doesn’t, and what could be done to improve it. Don’t expect our panelists to be a mean group, but do expect them to be honest when it comes to assessing the work.


The event is available for anyone to watch. We’ll be streaming it live via two outlets:

  • Apex Magazine Patreon (Note: The link will be live on the day of the event and afterward. Prior to that, it will take you to a 404.)
  • Apex Magazine YouTube


Submissions are limited to our backers (Patreon supporters, magazine subscribers, and Kickstarter backers) until the final week before closing and should be only the first 250 words (approximately) of your novel or short story. For the last week of our submissions window we are opening to the public! To submit…

  1. Please make the subject of your email “Snap Judgment Episode 5” and the title of your story. 
  2. In the body of your email, include the title of your story again, the genre, and whether it’s a short story, novella, or novel, etc. 
  3. Copy-paste your first 250 words directly below that.
  4. Please include either your backer/subscriber email address or receipt of your subscription/support. Not needed from 10/10 through 10/17.
  5. Send your submission to [email protected]

In case of a final sentence taking your submission over 250 words, please cut the last line. All entries will be read anonymously and our panelists will not be given any identifying information before, during, or after the event. 

Submissions close midnight Monday, October 17.

Special Guest –  Alex Woodroe

 Alex Woodroe was raised—possibly by wolves—in Romania, on the outskirts of Transilvania. She found her way into Weird, transgressive fiction through a gateway in the woods and made a career out of doing terrible things to words in multiple languages. She’s an acquiring editor for Tenebrous Press and a guest editor for Brigid’s Gate Press and Dark Matter Ink. Her debut novel, Whisperwood, is coming out through Flame Tree Press in 07/2023. Her favourite horror story is Alice in Wonderland. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association; you can chat with her on Twitter @AlexWoodroe or at

Host & Narrator – Alyson Grauer

Alyson Grauer is an author, actor, and podcaster based out of Chicago. Her first novel, On the Isle of Sound and Wonder, is a steampunk Shakespeare retelling and her short fiction has appeared in Apparition Lit, Cast of Wonders, and several indie anthologies. Her audio production work can be heard on such podcasts as Skyjacks: Courier’s Call, The Write Mindset, Warda, and the One Shot Podcast Secret Archive. She’s also known for performing at renaissance faires and world-class theme parks. Find her at or on Twitter & Instagram @dreamstobecome.


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