Create a Last Line First

At the start of a piece of writing, it may be worth a writer’s time to take a few moments to draft the last line or two of the story, and to picture its closing image.  Consider these great last lines.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

First, taking the time to write last lines may help to avoid the dreaded one-third doldrums. Everyone has different rhythms, but it’s often at 1,000 words of a short story or 30,000 into a novel that energy lags. Knowing the ending can help power through.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby:

 So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Second, a great ending can save time writing the book at as a whole. We’ve many of us found ourselves writing an extra 30,000 words that may later have to come out. Of course, that extra 30,000 word (or more) expansion might also result in a twelve-volume bestselling series. But it can be pleasant to know how long the work ahead may take.

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess:

And so farewell from your little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms of lip-music brrrrr. And they can kiss my sharries. But you, O my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal.

Third, getting the ending written down at the start (although we reserve our right to make changes) allows us a view of the opening and closing images, and to judge how they resonate, before the energy-filled plot distracts from the pure and binary vision of a beginning alongside its ending.

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel:

 Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.

I hope you’ll have another great week in your writing career. Cheers, Mel.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and the Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray, found in Issue 22 and  Issue 24. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

Open for Submissions

Short fiction submissions are open at Pulp Literature Press,  and we’re looking forward to reading gripping, well-written stories across the genres. (Note that we don’t publish YA, Erotica, Religious, or Memoirs/Biographies.)

We strongly suggest reading an issue or two before you submit to give you an idea of the types of stories we publish.  Please read our submission guidelines carefully before sending in your work.

Sign up here to receive our free monthly newsletter with announcements of contests, launch dates, and submission windows.

Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest Open to Entries

The 5th Annual Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest opens 1 January 2020

Short fiction up to 750 words, for a top prize of $300. 

Your Earlybird Entry discount is on now at $10 until January 15, 2020.

Get an editorial critique for only $20 more. 

The Bumblebee Contest is judged by flash fiction master Bob Thurber,  winner of numerous awards and author of the novel Paperboy.

Contest opens:  1 January 2020
Deadline:  15  February 2020
Winner notified:  15 March 2020
Winner published in:  Issue 27, Summer 2020
Prize:  $300

Enter Herebumblebee1

Restarting your Writing Career

Most writers go through periods of rest from time to time. It’s worth remembering that these caesuras often come in times of stress, when we’re helping others, or dealing with increased personal burdens in other aspects of our lives, like a day job. We may not be writing our 1,000 words, but we’re contributing something to the greater world.

What’s more, we might well be resting our writing brains for the great task ahead. In any case, even if the pause was to stream 14 seasons of NCIS, it’s well to set aside writer’s guilt (I don’t believe in writer’s block) and be confident that any obstacles we face could be grist for the writing mill.

Restart

Everybody works differently, but one way to restart is to set a timer for ten minutes and write out a character’s thoughts. Another is to copy out a favourite opening passage, and then to write an opening one in a similar rhythm, rather than a similar style. If neither of these do the trick, it’s very possible that outlining is in order.

Or maybe you’re still resting. When you return to your task, with your usual vigour, your characters will still be there, loyal and ready for new adventures.

I hope you’ll have another great week in your writing career. Cheers, Mel.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and the Monument Studio Mysteries starring Frankie Ray, found in Issue 22 and  Issue 24. She is a founding editor of Pulp Literature Press.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 24 December

Today is the last day of Advent, and the issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 24, Autumn 2019

History is  a major theme in our Autumn 2019 issue, from 17th century France, to colonial BC, California in 1934, back to Germany and France in World War II, all under the moving cover, Vimy by Steve R Gagnon.

  • Experience the motley horrors of World War II, as featured author JJ Lee reunites us with his man of mystery and monsters in ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat: Bekker’, and Robin Malcolm unearths long-buried secrets in ‘The Bumblebee’s Daughter’.
  • The secrets continue in field and forest on Canada’s west coast with Chuck Lim’s ‘The Red Tiger’ and KT Wagner’s ‘Cabin Fever’.
  • Meanwhile, appearances intrigue and deceive in Adam Fout’s ‘Black Glass’ and FJ Bergmann’s ‘Yellow Paint’.
  • Magpies are the only birds that can recognize themselves in a mirror. Fitting that our Magpie Award for Poetry winners — Susan Haldane, Jack Waldheim, and Roxanna Bennett — captivate us with their reflections on humanity.
  • A journey through the generations awaits vampires and travellers alike, as Tyner Gillies in  ‘The Lord of Lawn Ornaments’ and Susan Pieters in ‘The Map According to Me’ show us that, indeed, wherever you go, there you are.
  • And intrepid adventurers seek their fortunes, whether by horseback to Paris in ‘The Shepherdess’ by JM Landels, or by Model A to California in The Extra: Frankie Ray Goes to Hollywood by Mel Anastasiou.
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

The Mega-Deal

If you missed our daily countdown, never fear.  You can still get all 24 bonus gifts today when you buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form.  What better gift to yourself or a loved one, than settling down with a full shelf of reading material to ring in the New Year!

Explore back issues of the magazine here.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 23 December

With twenty-four fabulous back issues, one to mark each day of Advent, we hope to share with you the joy and magic of the season. When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the twenty-third day of Advent, and the issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 23, Summer 2019

Greetings, our spectacular cover painting by Akem welcomes you into Issue 23, where …

  • Featured author Kelly Robson shows us that wine making is a labour of love, and sometimes hate, in ‘Good for Grapes’.
  • Matthew Hughes’s magnum opus, What the Wind Brings, debuts aboard the Spanish galleon La Virgen, with an epic struggle brewing on the horizon.
  • Stella Ryman is ready for new adventures in Stella Ryman and the Locked Room Mystery by Mel Anastasiou, while Allaigna must make hasty goodbyes in the final chapter of Allaigna’s Song:  Aria by JM Landels.
  • It’s a dog-eat-dog world — or wolf-eat-dog world — in Christian Walter’s ‘Wolf, Dog, Sun’, and Zoë Johnson reminds us to take stock of everyday miracles in ‘Inherited Love of Unexplainable Things’.
  • Take a draught of heady poetry from Casey Reiland, Raluca Balasa, and Alison Braid.
  • Lena Mahmoud breathes new life into an old Arabian folk tale with ‘The Thieving Pot’, and Josephine Greenland dissects a Thai myth in the Bumblebee Contest winner, ‘Wife Giver’.
  • Deborah Davitt’s protagonists hold out for as long as they can in ‘On the Sixth Day’.
  • Come and get the good stuff in Susan Pieters’s ‘Black Market’, and see the dark(er) side of the financial district in Lola Street’s ‘Wall Street at Night’ illustrated by Chaille Stovall.
  • We have the two runners-up of the Surrey International Writers’ Conference Storyteller Contest in this issue:  ‘Biophilia’ shows us there’s hope in Margot Spronk’s post-apocalyptic world, but not necessarily for humans; while Deepthi Atukorala takes us down an emotional rabbit hole with ‘White Rabbit’.
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

If you’d like to take the element of chance out of the equation, sign up for our daily email where we will crack open each window early.  We’ll give you a heads-up on the day’s bonus before you buy, along with an inspirational quote from Your Writing Muse.

The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 22 December

With twenty-four fabulous back issues, one to mark each day of Advent, we hope to share with you the joy and magic of the season. When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the twenty-second day of Advent, and the issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 22, Spring 2019

Heed the tantalizing call of cover artist Herman Lau‘s Purple Siren and dive into this issue, where

  • Science Fiction Grand Master Robert Silverberg births a new religion from a social experiment gone wrong in ‘The Pope of the Chimps’.
  • A father’s grief leads to a son’s identity crisis in ‘Snapshots’, by Leo X Robertson; and Susan Pieters shows us it’s all about perspective in ‘Spin Doctor’.
  • you’ll find devilish, cold, and ill-tempered poetry from David Ly, Mary Willis, and Heather Christle.
  • Kathryn Yelinek’s protagonist must work outside her element to save the man she loves in ‘The Nyx’s Wife’, and a young paralegal meets all sorts of interesting commuters in ‘Late Night Fun Facts on the No. 65’ by JTF King.
  • The 2018 Raven Short Story Contest winner, Cheryl Wollner, crafts a story of friendship that is impervious to fire with ‘Girls Who Dance in the Flames’.
  • We’ve got a new novella from Mel Anastasiou, The Extra, that is all the aces; and Allaigna must bid bitter farewells in the next instalment of Allaigna’s Song:  Aria, by JM Landels.
  • And our graphic short turns your whole world upside down in ‘The Endless Drop’, by Matthew Nielsen and Minna Hakkola.
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

If you’d like to take the element of chance out of the equation, sign up for our daily email where we will crack open each window early.  We’ll give you a heads-up on the day’s bonus before you buy, along with an inspirational quote from Your Writing Muse.

The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 21 December

There are only four days left in our Advent Calendar — don’t miss out!  When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the Winter Solstice and the twenty-first day of Advent.  The issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 21, Winter 2019

  • Under the exquisite cover Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan
  • Our featured author, the esteemed Evelyn Lau, offers three poems riddled with grief and stolen moments.
  • Spencer Stevens takes a break from the front lines in the final Seven Swans instalment, ‘The Mystery of the Forgotten Soldier’, by Mel Anastasiou.
  • Echo wanes as Narcissus waxes in Joelle Kidd’s modern retelling, ‘Echo/Narcissus’; while a Pythia of Apollo unweaves 25 years’ worth of lies in ‘The Golden Feather’ by Jenny Blackford.
  • Space isn’t exactly lawless, but everyone bends the rules in Margot Spronk’s ‘Rules of Salvage’; and on the other end of the SF spectrum, Graham Darling’s ‘A Pleasant Walk, A Pleasant Talk’ neatly turns a Lewis Carroll poem on its head.
  • A seemingly useless power feeds a young woman’s resentment in Emily Lonie’s ‘A Seed in Every Womb’, and Michael Bracken’s ‘The Fishmonger’s Wife’ explores the dangers of dry land for mermen.
  • Search for the perfect stone in ‘Stonecold’ from Leslie Wibberly, the 2018 Creative Ink Festival’s flash fiction contest winner.
  • Explore new mythologies in Nicholas Christian’s ‘The Angler’, winner of the 2018 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction; and the runner-up by Robert Runté, ‘Day Three’, examines the little things we miss the most.
  • Allaigna falls in with a new crowd in the latest installment of Aria by JM Landels, and a carnival fortune-teller shares valuable tricks of the trade in ‘Madame Sylvie’s Three Rules for How to Speak for the Dead’ by Susan Pieters.
  • And finally, find out what very old aristocrats do when they let get unlaced in Kris Sayer’s sequential short ‘Under Pale Flesh’
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

If you’d like to take the element of chance out of the equation, sign up for our daily email where we will crack open each window early.  We’ll give you a heads-up on the day’s bonus before you buy, along with an inspirational quote from Your Writing Muse.

The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 20 December

Almost all the windows on our Advent Calendar have been opened, but there are still a few choice prizes to find.  When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the twentieth day of Advent, and the issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 20, Autumn 2018

Dare to venture behind the intriguing cover by award-winning British artist Ben Baldwin and you’ll find that …

  • Issue 20 cover with tech-slum cover by Ben BaldwinFeature author, Kristene Perron, asks us to savour the simple things in life and question the validity of tradition in ‘Flavour of the Forsaken’.
  • Those of you who admire magpies for their intelligence and unique beauty will find these qualities in this year’s winners of the Magpie Award for Poetry, Kelli Allen, Christine Levickzy Riek, and Angela Caravan.
  • Great-Great-Grandpa stops by for a visit 90 years after his death in ‘Away Game’ by Mitchell Toews, and for some reason, we’re not at all surprised.
  • ‘Gross Motor’ by Sara Mang takes us back to kindergarten, while the hardworking folks in Mitchell’s Crossing contend with a nosy superhero and government officials in ‘Small Town Superhero’ by Dave Beynon.
  • Epiphany Ferrell exposes the dubious talents of a ne’er-do-well townsman in ‘Every Town Has One’, and Susan Pieters challenges us to walk in someone else’s shoes with ‘Waking Up Black’.
  • Love jewellery? We doubt you’ll want one of the bracelets in Summer Jewel Keown’s ‘Indebted’.
  • Alex Reece Abbott lands quick punches you won’t flinch from with ‘Alphabet Soup’, while coffee lovers and dreamers beware of ‘The Hub’, SiWC’s Honourable Mention by Erin Evans.
  • Mel Anastasiou’s graphic story ‘Meat’ involves a gargoyle who rises above his station, while the next instalment of Allaigna’s Song: Aria by JM Landels takes us deeper into unknown territory.
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

If you’d like to take the element of chance out of the equation, sign up for our daily email where we will crack open each window early.  We’ll give you a heads-up on the day’s bonus before you buy, along with an inspirational quote from Your Writing Muse.

The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.

Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 19 December

With twenty-four fabulous back issues, one to mark each day of Advent, we hope to share with you the joy and magic of the season. When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the nineteenth day of Advent, and the issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 19, Summer 2018

Tais Teng’s eerie and intriguing cover, After the Tsunami, invites us into a world that is familiar, and yet altered, prefacing the stories beneath ..

  • We lead with an excerpt from Advent, Michael Kamakana’s SF stunner of a debut novel, which opens with “When the aliens came it was not what we expected.”  Need we say more? Another debut, Jasmin Nyack’s ‘Five Minutes’, has a totally different, and hilarious, take on alien invasion.
  • Spencer Stevens travels to the age of steam in the newest Seven Swans novella by Mel Anastasiou, The Machineries of Progress, and we take a trip of a different kind in Maria Pascualy’s poem, ‘First Date’.
  • Alex Reece Abbott’s short story, ‘My Brother Paulie’, is a sharp study of an altered state of being, and ‘Guardian’, by Susan Pieters, turns personal safety into claustrophobia and morphs danger into desire.
  • We progress and evolve in new ways in Richard O’Brien’s ‘The Slade Transmutation’, another evolution occurs in ‘Ordinary’, by Sylvia Stopforth, and Allaigna adapts to her transformation from runaway to fugitive in the latest instalment of Allaigna’s Song:  Aria by JM Landels.
  • The grotesquery of flies has us itching for a swatter in James Norcliffe’s ‘He has this thing’, while Charity Tahmaseb’s ‘Potato Bug War’ has us rooting for the pests to survive.
  • Bumblebee contest winner RS Wynn weaves five tight narratives into one flash fiction piece titled ‘Lullaby, Valentine, Paper Crane’ alongside the Surrey International Writers’ Conference Storyteller Award runner-up, ‘Towing the Mustang’ by Keltie Zubko.
  • Last year, in the first chapter of Blue Skies Over Nine Isles by Joseph Stilwell and Hugh Henderson, we left Maxwell facing a threat and several questions.  In Chapter two, Max gets a hand up, but don’t think for a second that his rescuer is giving him a handout.
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

If you’d like to take the element of chance out of the equation, sign up for our daily email where we will crack open each window early.  We’ll give you a heads-up on the day’s bonus before you buy, along with an inspirational quote from Your Writing Muse.

The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.