Sarah Martin Banse Archive

Writers With Responsibilities: Patience is a Way of Life

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 1 Comment
Dear Sally, I want it all, NOW! What do you have to say to that? Your friend, Veruca Salt   Dear Veruca, You can stomp and jump up and down all you want—but the truth is, if you’re a writer with responsibilities, you’d best get down with the heavenly virtue

Writers With Responsibilities: Keep Your Mojo

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Dear Sally, I found my voice relatively late in life—40—but once I started to write I couldn’t imagine a life without it. I took classes, joined writing groups, and wrote all the time. I published essays in my local paper and people stopped me in the grocery store to

From the Slush Pile: Cover This

Let’s talk about cover letters. I know, I know: exciting, right? But remember what mom said: first impressions matter. So here’s a piece of advice: keep your letter professional and succinct. A reader and editor wants to know who you are, your publishing credentials (if any), and the name

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

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
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

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?

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized 10 Comments
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…

Author: | Categories: Uncategorized 13 Comments
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