Writing Time, Part 76. An Editor Dishes

We’re reading manuscripts at Pulp Literature Press, and what strikes me first is the talent that comes through our e-portals. But, like most small publishers, we accept very few manuscripts in the end. It’s hard, turning down good writers. Often it’s because we’ve no more room for superheroes and wish we had detectives, or vice versa.

Other than fit, what do I look for in stories for our quarterly, and in novels for our press? Here are three great reasons I don’t stop reading to say No thanks, but read on. These are pretty basic, but worth identifying as a time-saving effort.

  1. The author nails time, place, tone, promise of genre, and a hint at the central conflict on page one, often paragraph one, and continues to do so with the start of each new scene.
  2. It’s clear that the writer has dug deep for ideas for turning points, that are possibly archetypical, but not clichéd, within the particular genre. (I don’t read pure romance, but I have a deep and sincere respect for romance writers, who can make woman meets, loses, regains man seem fresh to their loyal readership every time.)
  3. I can tell a fellow editor what this story is about in a sentence and we’ll both still want to know what happens. It’s about a guy who’s ambushed and sent into 30 years of cryogenic sleep, and has to return to his own past to get even and create a better future, second time around. (The Door Into Summer, Robert Heinlein.)

When it comes down to it, as an acquisitions editor, I’m also an avid reader and ideally a big fan of your work.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

If you’re a fan of Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might enjoy her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press


This week, from your Writing Muse:You’re a master at uplift, giving us the shining moments that make the darkness scarier. Your Writing Muse @pulpliterature #amwriting


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