Author Archive

From the Slush Pile: The Numbers

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When I see numbers I generally shut down, but I know there’s a whole host of you out there who want to see pie charts, graphs and digits. So if my ranting about pluck and resiliency isn’t enough for you folks, here are the cold hard facts when it

From the Slush Pile: Speak to Me

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In his introduction to the most recent issue of Ploughshares, guest editor Peter Ho Davies says that the thrill he found in each selected story was the sense that it spoke to him alone.  But how do you make that happen? We’ve talked about a lot of different strategies to make

From the Slush Pile: Don’t Fall Flat

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Alfred Hitchcock says, “Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”  That is absolutely true for the stories that are being passed on to editors. It is your job to tell the story but get rid of the boring bits. A reader wants to travel seamlessly from scene

From the Slush Pile: Readers Speak

Author: | Categories: Writing Advice 2 Comments
If there was a magic pill—you know lose weight, no exercise—to beat the slush pile and warm the hearts of editors straight to publication, I’d eat it and then dole it out to all of you. But we all know you have to do the work, show up every

From the Slush Pile: What’d She Say?

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So, we’ve talked about the beginning, the end, pluck, resiliency, and life—and yet here we are, still, wading through the slush pile. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? The world may never know, and how to have a reader pass

It’s About Point of View

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Note: Following the Marathon bombings, and the subsequent citywide lockdown, we took a conscious decision to keep the blog free of commentary about both—despite several contributors volunteering. A literary journal isn’t the place for punditry or analysis of current events, we decided, and there were plenty of other places

From the Slush Pile: Have You Got What it Takes?

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I’ve said it before: you have to play to win. And I’m sorry to say, in terms of the slush pile, “winning” is a bit of a crapshoot. To rise out of the slush pile you must submit and keep submitting. It’s a numbers game and resiliency and pluck

From the Slush Pile: Don’t Leave Me Hanging

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  Monday morning, two days post-AWP, your 2013 Boston Tote Bag filled with literary swag: postcards, pins, temporary tattoos, and journals. You have a renewed energy. Yes, this is the year. You will submit—over and over again if necessary—and you will get published. For those of you who have never

From the Slush Pile…

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It seems clear that what you all want to know is, “How do I get published in Ploughshares?” So, lets start at the beginning. Literally. If you want to get out of the slush pile, one of the worst things you can do is write a lackluster first paragraph. Don’t

Erin Go Plough: Some Staff Favorites for St. Patrick’s

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
It’s time to get your Irish on.  I come from a family where the old aunts always proudly displayed their photos of JFK, I could swear in Gaelic by sixth grade, and we had a shillelagh in the house. Although we wore green on Saint Patty’s day, my mother