We love summer! After all, Pulp was born on a sunny deck on Bowen Island in July of 2013, and our earliest graphics featured books and beer on the beach. While we eagerly await issue 7, we thought we’d celebrate the start of summer by offering back issues of last summer’s offering, Issue 3, on sale for the month of June.
For this month only you can get the Summer 2014 issue, with stories by Governor General Award-winning playwright Joan MacLeod, Hummingbird Prize judge Bob Thurber, as well as Laird Long, Deborah Walker, Conor Powers-Smith, Fred Zackel and more. Only $12 for print, and $2.99 for ebooks both here on our website and on Amazon. Crack open a cold one and get a head start on summer reading now!
Pacing is a tricky learning curve for some, like me. Other writers seem to have an intuitive feel for it and know just when to give us that beautifully painted descriptive passage that informs character and even moves the story along. Whenever my co-editors Jen and Sue read their work during our Writing Circles sessions, I’m always gobsmacked at the brilliance of their pacing.
How often we read this criticism of novelists and short fiction writers: “Too much description.” Although sometimes that’s right on, more frequently I find that description is misplaced. One of the ways a master storyteller shows his or her skill is by knowing where a descriptive passage works, and where it must not set one painted toe.
And it’s worth learning where in story structure these places are. For example, during the quiet moments where the character is finding that he or she is not what she was, description adds to the importance of the moment, and of course you want to get out the brush and paints when you’re drawing out a reveal moment (the unopened letter’s in his hand, the stranger’s on her doorstep). GG winner Joan MacLeod nails the placement in her perfect story ‘The Salt Tour’ in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature. Best selling thriller writers like Lee Child are masters at knowing exactly when to use description and figurative language and you can examine a book chapter by chapter to see where he’s placing action, description and figurative language. For a perfect example of description informing plot, conflict, and character, take a look at the moment Harry Potter first enters Hogwarts dining hall.
I think of description like caesura in music. Stop on the wrong bar, it’s a hand in the face. When it’s rightly placed, wow.
We are pleased as punch to announce our nominations for the Pushcart Prize. How did we pick them? It was hard. Have you even looked at a fantastic menu and couldn’t decide what to order? Twice Sue’s had the pleasure of dining at renowned Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver. Both times she asked the owner which dish he’d recommend, and his reply was the same: how can a parent choose his favourite child? As publishers, we find ourselves in a similarly impossible position trying to pick favourites, but by studying the inclinations of each prize, we recommend the stories we think stand the best chance of winning each competition. The Pushcarts are geared to literary fiction, which we have in each issue, but we proved our cross-genre dedication by nominating a literary vampire story. (Think they’ll notice?) The competition is fierce for these awards, but we know these stories are gems. And win or lose, we trust the authors of these stories will feel how much we value them in our magazine.
Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2015:
We have also have suggested the following stories for Imaginarium 4, an anthology of Canadian Spec Fic by Chizine.
In addition, ‘Blackthorne & Rose: Agents of DIRE’ by KG McAbee has been submitted for a Bram Stoker Award.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our Journey Prize nominations. And hey, all you members of the SFWA, now’s your chance to be a hero and nominate a favourite fantasy or science fiction story for a Nebula Award! If you’d like a complete list of our stories in that genre, just let us know. We’d also like to hear from you if there is one or more of our stories you think ought to be submitted for other prizes.
Finally, the estimable CC Humphreys has finished judging our very own Raven Cover Story Contest and we’ll be announcing the winners on Monday. To whet your appetite, here, in no particular order, is the list of finalists:
- ‘The Hemisphere Stone’ by Mike Glyde
- ‘Dear Louis’ by Sara Cedeno
- ‘Claws In’ by Ace Baker
- ‘Odd Jobs’ by KL Mabbs
- ‘Family Relics’ by Katherine Wagner
- ‘The Ravens’ by Anna Belkine
- ‘The Inner Light’ by Krista Wallace
- ‘The Jealous Valley’ by Kiril Lavarevski
Congratulations to all these authors and best of luck in the final judgment!
Governor-General Award winning playwright Joan McLeod once advised me to spend time with your work every day. She sets aside mornings to write, and will explain when friends call that she can meet them in the afternoon.
What do we value? Among other things, time to work. Just thinking about having time to work puts a smile on my face. I always think of that kid in the film Home Alone whose enormous family omits to take him on vacation. Beaming, he walks to the phone and breathlessly orders his greatest unrealized dream, “.. .a whole cheese pizza, all to myself.” To me, time to work is a whole cheese pizza.
It took me a long time to give myself the gift of scheduling in writing time. When carving out time to write seems impossible, I try to invert the image and carve time out of my writing rather than the other way round.
When my persistence in scheduling and planning falters, and the days slip like sand between cupped fingers, I need to remember what Leonardo da Vinci said about scheduling: Time stays long enough for those who use it.
I’m inspired to persist when I remember that Joan MacLeod, while teaching at UVic, writing fiction and non-fiction pieces, and staging The Valley, her latest in a string of critically acclaimed plays, still spends lots of time with her beautiful family and friends.
Here’s a must-read link to the Toronto Star’s review of Joan’s play The Valley. Joan MacLeod’s superb short story “The Salt Tour” can be found in Issue 3 of Pulp Literature due out in July.