Attention writers! We will be opening for short fiction submissions for the month of August. For this period we are specifically looking for:
- Gentle humour and a light touch. We like grim and dark, but we tend to get a lot of it. See if you can warm our hearts or bring smile to our faces.
- Literary with a twist. Beautiful writing with unexpected endings.
- Diversity. We tend to get a lot of stories with straight, white, male protagonists. We love you guys, but lets mix things up a bit!
Be sure to read our submissions guidelines carefully before sending us your polished prose. We look forward to reading your work in September!
Even if you’re already a wonderful writer (and you are), you want to keep getting better. Luckily, that’s exactly how humility — the willingness to keep learning from those around us — repays us. Here are two ways to spend a few minutes learning here and there during your week:
- Ask questions. What are the greatest skills poets can teach novelists? Who has the most fantastic sentence structure? This novelist wins awards and almost all her work is dialogue, how does she do that? When should I use
a series of short sentences? What figurative language am I using most often, can I widen my repertoire?
- Write with a Titan. Find a favourite writer. Write out a sentence, a paragraph, or more, and analyze the craft involved. The New York Times article This is Your Brain on Writing explains why spending time in a gifted writer’s mind this way is a worthwhile practice.
The best get even better. We can develop more superpowers whenever we like. These are comforting thoughts.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.
Pulp Literature is a party mix designed for readers who don’t limit themselves to a single genre or fiction format: it contains short stories, poetry, novels, graphic novels, and illustrations all under the same cover. Beautifully printed in a convenient format, it invites a sophisticated readership to be surprised by the mix of genres each and every time.
Now more than ever, we need your help to support Pulp Literature by becoming a patron. Your donation will help ensure that we can continue to focus our efforts on selection, editing, illustration, and design to make the magic happen without worrying about the day-to-day financing. The income we receive from our patrons helps pay professional rates to contributing writers, artists and editors.
As a patron you will receive access to our Patron-only blog with sneak previews and surprise freebies, a free digital copy of our first issue, Winter 2014, as well as more free issues as we reach our funding goals. The more you are able to donate, the more rewards are included, such as subscriptions, free books, access to the patron-only submissions inbox (always free, always open), and even editorial services for your work-in-progress.
Check out our Patreon page here. For as little as a dollar a month you can help keep Pulp Literature sending you great reads into our fourth year and beyond!
Thank you, dear patrons!
Marketing & Communications Assistant
Pulp Literature Press
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction, as chosen by the master of flash himself, Bob Thurber. Here is what Bob has to say about the finalists:
Nice job, all of you. A superior batch of finalists. I enjoyed so many of them. Here are my final selections
‘Xuefei and his Heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
for its solid writing and wonderfully intriguing surreality
‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
for its painful voice and understatement
‘Scathed’ by Holly Woodward
for its wild energy and insistence
As always with these contests the senior editors indulge themselves by honouring an additional story that caught their eyes. This year the Editor’s Pick is ‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine.
The winner and first runner-up will be published in Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017, and we hope to find space for the second runner-up and Editor’s Pick in that or future issues.
Thanks once more to Bob Thurber for taking on the judging, and congratulations to these brilliant writers!
Jen, Mel & Sue
Pulp Literature Press
We’re pleased to announce the finalists of the 2016 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction!
- ‘Saturday in the Penthouse’ by Liana Jahan Imam
- ‘Xuefei and his heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
- ‘Funerals’ by Jamie Grove
- ‘Refugee Circus’ by Stephen Frech
- ‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
- ‘Neighborhood Watch’ by Yasmina Madden
- ‘In My Drawer’ by Patricia Berry
- ‘Now You See It’ by Nancy Ludmerer
- ‘Waiting’ by Jesse Sensibar
- ‘Scathed’ by Holly Woodward
- ‘In the Valley of the Sun’ by Gleah Powers
- ‘Fall on Your Knees’ by Nancy Ludmerer
- ‘Whale in the Park’ by Stephanie Vernier
- ‘Chameleons’ by Curtis VanDonkelaar
- ‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine
- ‘Them Bones, Them Bones’ by Colin Thornton
- ‘Wedding of the Junk Dealer’s Daughter’ by Jesse Sensibar
We tried to keep the list to 15, but these stories were all so good it would be too hard to leave any one of them off the shortlist. Congratulations to these fine authors, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on Friday!
Every author loves reviews, and we’re no different here at Pulp Literature. To thank you, our generous readers, for your reviews we are offering a prize draw for a free 1-year digital subscription.
To enter the draw, simply post a review of an issue of Pulp Literature — it could be your favourite, your least favourite, or one in between — on Amazon or Goodreads. Enter the link on the prize entry form, and we’ll draw the winner at the end of August.
Aside from your chance to win a subscription you will also earn our deep thanks. Reviews on these sites help make the magazine more visible to search engines and let us reach a wider audience.
There is no cost to enter the draw. Entries close August 31st at 11:59pm Pacific time.
One of the finest ways to use 10 minutes in a busy week is to master the elevator pitch — that is, one sentence that encapsulates your story and intrigues the listener. You can’t figure this one out too soon. Even if you’re on page one, with no thought of pitching to an agent or writing a blurb for your ebook for another six months, a pitch sentence will be as useful to you in your growing career as a quality pocket knife on a wilderness camping trip. Here’s why.
- You need to be ready with your elevator pitch when relatives, friends and co-workers ask you exactly what an agent, editor, or Amazon reader is going to ask: “What’s your book about?”
- You will need your elevator pitch to put on your author page and for your blurb if you decide to go with indie publishing.
- You will need your elevator pitch for your query letter if you decide to go the traditional publishing route.
- But the person who most needs to hear your elevator pitch while you’re still writing your book is you. If you’ve got that gripping sentence in mind, it’s going to keep you on track and can save hundreds of hours that might be spent writing pages that you’ll throw out and revising chapters that go nowhere.
The best book I’ve read on building pitch lines is Blake Snyders’s Save the Cat, a favourite professional read. Here are two of his examples:
- A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists – Die Hard.
- A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend – Pretty Woman.
There are few better ways to use 10 minutes than to write out and polish your elevator pitch.
I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you.
Thank you to all the wonderful storytellers who submitted to this years’ Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize. Every year the number of quality stories grows, making our jobs as first judges ever more difficult. This year we brought in a fourth prelimary judge, Katherine Howard, who helped us narrow our longlist down to 30 excellent pieces. In no particular order the top thirty are:
- Saturday in the Penthouse
- Xuefei and his heart
- Golden Snowflake
- Painted Nails
- Neighborhood Watch
- Looking East from Heckethorn
- My Brother’s Therapist
- Texture of the Sea
- In My Drawer
- Refugee Circus
- Now You See It
- Animal Eyes
- Still Your Mother’s House
- In the Valley of the Sun
- Fall on Your Knees
- Better Watch Out
- Hell in Paradise
- Whale in the Park
- Them Bones, Them Bones
- The Deathbed
- Venetian Blind
- A Mailman Drinking a Milkshake
- Early Harvest
- The Yellow Blanket
- The Wedding of the Junk Dealer’s Daughter
Congratulations to these authors who will remain anonymous until our final judge, Bob Thurber, has finished his deliberations, and to all the writers who submitted stories that made our job so difficult, yet enjoyable.
Stay tuned — we will be publishing the shortlist and the winners on July 15th!
“My idea of good company … is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”
“You are mistaken,’ said he gently, ‘that is not good company, that is the best.”
Jane Austen, Persuasion
We all yearn for connections with interesting and agreeable people. Yes, even we writers — as a rule happy when alone, amongst our books, and wandering barefoot through the Internet — love to laugh and talk. Most writers I’ve met when from time to time I step away from my desk are talented at making and keeping friends, because likeable company makes the world go around. And, happiness helps the work get done.
One of the first things we can do to grow our happiness in our writing careers is to search out a few writers who will be our first strength and we theirs. Someone who is farther along the path than we are, and someone who is perhaps closer to the start. Genre matters little. Personality is all.
I love to watch people who sparkle with happiness as they strike up conversations in queues, on the train, in the park. Some writers are talented in making quick connections at the drop of a hat. Others of us find starting conversations more difficult (although it’s worth practicing—we don’t want to stand tongue tied around strangers at our own book launches) but are brilliant at forging few but excellent friendships that last decades or a lifetime. If we can find a way to cherish both, we’re likely to be happy and productive writers.
I hope it’s another brilliant writing day today.
Novelists carry notebooks. It’s a symbol of the job, like a 1940’s journalist’s fedora. So, it’s lucky that we love stationery. We get to spend lots of time trying new notebooks for size and paper quality and how they fit in our carryall, and whether we want one that is pocket-sized so we don’t have to carry that carryall all the time. That’s what I call shopping fun. Especially when it’s clearly necessary to go looking for an ideal writers’ carryall.
All the advice to writers I’ve ever read on notebooks says “Write down your excellent ideas.” I agree, to a certain extent. But given our busy lives and writing careers, we must consider that we don’t want a book of ideas so much as we want a book.
What if we jot any random yet great ideas in the back of the notebook, perhaps, but use the front to write outlines and character arcs and lists of 20 ways a turning point might take place? In that way a notebook helps writers make progress on the present story as well as future volumes. Ten-minute outlines in a notebook serve us beautifully when we come to draft the next scene.
I hope it’s another brilliant writing week for you.