Category Archives: Editorial

Here’s Why We Hope You’ll Subscribe: Superb Stories and a Noble Enterprise

With the whole great world of publishing at your fingertips, we hope you’ll choose to subscribe to Pulp Literature. We work hard to get you the best storytelling around, and to keep our philosophy rooted in integrity, keeping true to our goals and our promises to you, our readers, authors, and artists.

Our editorial goal is to put together a gorgeous magazine bursting with intriguing tales for you, our faithful readers.

Our business goal is to become the first literary magazine to sustain itself on subscriptions from satisfied customers.

Our employment goal is to pay higher and higher per-word and per-page rates to our authors and artists as our subscription list grows.

With three days left in our Something Novel campaign, we wish you warm spots to read and put your feet up, the most comfortable of seating, and a happy reading experience this winter, and through the year. Thanks for your readership and support.

Mel & Jen

The Brilliant Hummingbirds

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:

hummingbirdissue7Nice job, all of you. A superior batch of finalists. I enjoyed so many of them.  Here are my final selections

Winner:
‘Xuefei and his Heart’ by Rebecca Wurtz
for its solid writing and wonderfully intriguing surreality

First Runner-up:
‘Painted Nails’ by Jenna Park
for its painful voice and understatement

Second Runner-up:
‘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

 

 

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Transitions in Storytelling: Milestones and Memories

hand and pencilI’m reading a social history of the UK in the 1950s, Family Britain, which in the hands of a lesser writer might read like a list.  First rationing loosened, then Churchill was re-elected, and then television began its overtake of radio in the UK.  Author David Kynaston works with a rich and detailed treasure chest of journal entries, memoirs, and interviews.  But even these would not be enough to deserve the Spectator’s review: “Kynaston is the most entertaining historian alive.”  And that’s a great reason for us storytellers to look with care at this non-fiction writer’s craft.

One of Kynaston’s many strengths is the expert and inspired use of transitions between milestones, memories, and public and private reactions. He connects these with his readership through emotional resonance, so that although we read his book to learn facts, we find instead we’ve learned to care about the many small transformations that add up to that particular era’s journey. His craft is well worth studying for fiction writers.

I note with admiration the way he sets us deeply into the moment through transition and a feel for the weather following a journal entry on a Coronation day memory, when the diarist and her sister happened by Buckingham Palace late Coronation night and witnessed the new Queen’s unscheduled balcony appearance. “And then by Jove they came out, the Queen and the Duke, and they didn’t hurry back in either. We were transported… marvelling at our luck.”

Kynaston writes, “Whether on that Tuesday itself, or the dryer days after, Coronation celebrations took many forms … but the most emblematic celebration, the one closest to most people’s sense of what was fit and proper, was the street party, primarily but not exclusively for the children.”

With that transition from grownup joy, through the weather troubles that resonate with us all, and into the celebrations afterwards – wow, lovely, for the children, of course I’d get involved – Kynaston makes connections that at 60 years distance still involve us deeply.  When I read that East London dads gave up their Friday pints for a few extra shillings for this party, I want to clap them on the back.  Now, when Kynaston says that trestle tables were set up, we see the cost for some.  Was it worth it, for those children?  Did the young ones appreciate it?

His transition from the tables to a young girl looking down at them, up past her bedtime, makes it personal.  Her dad, her memoir tells us, “who was more than a little drunk, spied me at the window. ‘Gi’us a song, Marie, hen,” he called out. I started singing In a Golden Coach…There’s a heart of gold, That belongs to you and me…

“That,” added Lulu, “was my first public appearance.”

For those of us who remember Lulu, Kynaston has again connected our past to this past, and since we really care, he can go on, certain of our attention, to explain exactly how the street parties were organized.

Family Britain is thick as a brick, not a word out of place, a superb work from which to study transitions, and anyway I can’t put it down.

Family Britain 1951-57 David Kynaston. Bloomsbury, London. 2009.

Autumn harvest

Black Book Friday

This year, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.  Or where my pen is.  This year, I’m only giving gifts that are locally sourced and produced, artisan gifts from people whose hands I can see and possibly have shaken, products which support the literary community to which I belong.  Yes, I’m giving about everyone I know a copy of Pulp Literature, or Mel’s wonderful collection of illustrations, Colouring Paradise.Colouring book

Black Friday is the day most North Americans head to the mall (my husband spells that “maul”) to go into debt, forking over money which often leaves the country, for products which will be obsolete in a few years.  We humbly suggest buying small and buying local, buying intelligently and artistically, buying to sustain the professions that require patronage in our own front yards.

When you purchase a copy of Pulp Literature, you support a registered Canadian Non-Profit that returns 100% of proceeds towards the content creators.  You also purchase hours of entertainment that will linger in your mind satisfactorily, appreciate gracefully on your bookshelf, and add no calories whatsoever.

The best part?  Our books can be mailed as gifts on your behalf to friends anywhere in the world by Christmas … no maul required.

Order Colouring Paradise, Pulp Literature and other gifts here!

Pulp Literature Year 1 & 2

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What Happens on Friday

Jen has stayed up late, turning Thursday night into Friday morning, counting the last contest entries, putting them in spreadsheets so all three editors can read them blind.  It’s been a good day for stories. Then Mel shows up, her emails say three am our time but it’s nearly noon in England.  She uploads a new drawing as well as illustrations for a colouring book idea we’re discussing.  Continue reading

Do No Harm

smallpenandinkWhen physicians swear to uphold the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath, they understand the principle of “Do no harm.”  When a patient sees a doctor, the last thing they need is treatment which worsens their illness or adds a complication.  But in the literary world of editing, there is no Hippocratic Oath.  Many editors and story doctors will hire out their services, happily taking a writer’s money in exchange for a critique that cuts deep into a story’s gut, digs around, and comes back up with a small lump while the patient bleeds out on the table.

Why this word of caution today?  I’ve been researching for my upcoming workshop on editing for the Vancouver School of Writing, and while some of the editing services I’ve seen look legit, many of them are run by people without credentials who are looking for money.  As in the days of old, there is always a charlatan to prey upon the naïve.  Editors without scruples will give you lots of advice, quote a library of how-to books, and place a burden on the writer’s shoulders that Atlas himself couldn’t lift.  Many writers leave in despair, not sure where to begin to revise, not sure if they should try.  It is literary euthanasia, yet no writer intentionally hires a story doctor for the purpose of putting his novel out of its misery.

If you hire an editor, make sure that they can actually help you.  Make sure that they believe your story is worthy of being told, of being born.  Make sure they have references from writers who have survived the operation table.  Look for credentials in the areas that you need help with, whether it be precise proofreading or big-picture structural editing.  Make sure the editor sees something positive in your writing before you proceed.  Bad critiquing is easy;  helpful critiquing is harder. In order for an editor or a doctor to accurately assess where the illness resides, they must also understand what health looks like and help move you towards higher possibilities.  A good editor doesn’t just hate on a story, they also have hope for it and see its strengths.

sue 3Watch out there, fellow writers.  Hire your editor carefully, and don’t give your money to someone so they can just stick a knife in your back.

Sue is Pulp Literature’s Acquisition editor.  To register for her course on hiring editors and self-editing go to the Vancouver School of Writing website.

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The Value of Feedback

Writers love feedback.  No, let me clarify: Good writers love feedback.  I have just finished sending out critiques for Hummingbird contest entrants who paid an extra $15 to get comments back.  In addition to the magazine earning some spare change in the process, we’ve also earned deep thanks from most of the writers.  To quote one author, “I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and thoughtful, measured critique … your feedback really does help me see how it can be the best version of itself.”

I get rather chuffed about this kind of thanks.  (Translation of ‘chuffed’ for North Americans: very pleased indeed.)  In fact, it’s rather addicting.  When we began sending out rejections two years ago, I took pains to write a personal note to each author, giving a bit of a reason for the rejection, or a tip on how to improve the story.  I often received notes of  thanks.

Those days are over.  Until now, I’ve been able to review every comment from every slushpile reader and moderate every response that gets sent out to our loyal submitters.  I’ve enjoyed making friends along the way.  But the price to the magazine has been high.  It has taken long hours to sift so carefully through every submission — time that could be better spent on workshops, marketing, and editing our accepted content.

For this reason I regret to say we will no longer be giving personal feedback with every submission. This means the editors will have more time to do higher level editing, writing, and promotion for the magazine.  It also means that authors who would like feedback from an editor have a choice of paying the extra fee during our contests, or outright hiring us, with proceeds going to the coffers of our non-profit press.  We also have the fabulous Brewer award level on our Patreon page that lets writers get 20 pages of critique every three months.

sue 3Thanks for making me chuffed!

Susan Pieters is our acquisitions and developmental editor.  She looks forward to the next round of submissions, which is opening soon!

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Pulp Literature Granted Non-Profit Status

bedside readingWe’re happy to announce that Pulp Literature Press has been awarded Canadian Not-For-Profit status. This accurately reflects our mandate of putting payments to authors and artists first.   As publishers, we are proud of the high ethical standards this requires of us.  Our mandate and priority is to put creators first and we’ve discovered this is the best way to build a community of trust where the highest quality of art can be produced.  Have a read for yourself, sample an e-book and discover one of the most beautifully designed anthologies on the market — and all for the price of a beer!

Issue 7 feature author: Robert J Sawyer

Untitled-2Canadian readers will especially recognize the name of our feature author for Issue 7 as a leading name in science fiction: Robert J Sawyer has won the Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, Arthur Ellis, and Aurora awards, and with good reason. His books are intelligent and dynamic, introspective and fast-paced. They are true to the calling of great science fiction, seeing our present sharply through the mirror of the future.

Sawyer’s latest book, Red Planet Blues, is unique for its genre crossing, combining traditional pulp genre elements in the futuristic setting of Mars. The novel begins in classic detective fashion, so much so that I can’t help but see fishnet stockings and film noir shadows crossing the set as a hot babe walks in to the only detective agency on Mars to ask a private eye to locate her missing husband…

Before you rush off to buy the book (which I recommend), don’t forget to purchase your issue of Issue 7, to read another cross-genre Sawyer story, ‘Fallen Angel.’ It’s a fantasy story with gothic tones, as a young girl tries to worm out of a deal with the devil. Issues will be mailed out this week! Or come and purchase a copy at our Issue 7 launch party Monday night at the Wolf and Hound pub — we’re set to enjoy ourselves with a beer and a bit of storytelling. What could be a better way to enjoy summer?

 

 

 

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Où sont les blurbs d’antan?

small writerOne problem I have with ebooks, is that once I’ve purchased them, I can no longer read the blurbs without returning to the estore.

I want my blurbs. Those artful, enticing descriptions put a smile of anticipation on my face, speed my reading with a supporting scaffolding of basic information, and reassure me that I haven’t already read this one (or that it’s going to be my great pleasure to read it again.)

I noticed that Stephen King’s Revival (loved it) has all the copyright/acknowledgements at the end of the ebook. That made for a slick clean start. He’s always on the ball with these things.  But where is the best place to place eblurbs so that we can see those back cover/inside flap descriptions before we read the book? Summer weather is too pretty for brooding, so I’m lying on the grass, gazing up at the sky and mulling on it.