After a thousand personal rejection letters, it’s time to do a more complete summary of what we’re looking for at Pulp Literature in terms of the stories we want to read and print. Of course, the best way to understand our mandate and magazine would be to purchase a sample e-copy, but short of that, here are some common themes we’ve found oft repeated in our letters to submitting authors:
- We are looking for entertaining, accessible stories. We do appreciate clever and poetic turns of phrase, but first and foremost we want a story readers can sink into late at night before they go to bed. We want to stretch people’s minds, but not give them a headache.
- We take a limited amount of downer stories. We receive so many brilliant but depressing stories that we must pass on all but the best gems. We strive for emotional balance in each of our issues. We want our readers to leave refreshed and entertained, not as if they’ve left a funeral.
- We aren’t satisfied with a joke. Some writers send shaggy dog stories that end with a twist or revelation that is funny, but not a story. A story is about a person, not a plot twist.
- We take all genres, not just pulp. Because our title says “Pulp” Literature, some authors assume we want guns and blood. The “pulp” in our title refers to cheap pulp paper, which we someday hope to use. We want our magazine to include a balance of all genres, including fantasy, romance, mystery, literary, etc.
- We take more short fiction than novellas. While we try to have one longer work of 15-20,000 words in every issue, that is only one story out of a dozen. This means we are pickier and wait longer to reply to novellas, usually requesting a re-write. We’re not saying to only send us short works, but do realize what the odds and time requirements are for novellas.
- We want both plot and character. We like some action along with those intriguing personalities, and we want to see characters that grow and change throughout the story arc.
- We have high standards. We want stories we can treasure, words that show the love and sweat and effort of strong storytellers. These are the works we get excited about polishing so they shine to brilliance in our publication.
We are having a brief open submission period for short fiction only from August 10 – 24th. Please check our submission guidelines carefully before sending us your brightest gems.