Things I’ve learned as a slush reader

Hey everyone. I thought I would write a blog on some of the key pitfalls I see as a slush reader.  If you can avoid these things, it will make your submission stand out.

  1. Follow the guidelines. I know everyone says this but you would be shocked at how many people submit not double-spaced, not in the right word count, and some with editing marks still in the manuscript. These lead to an automatic rejection.
  2. Show, not tell. This is another common one but deserves saying again. Look for the filter words that tell you that you need to revisit that sentence or paragraph. Key among those are “felt” and “tried.” If you say the character felt something then you are telling us, not showing us.
  3. Make sure your story has a beginning, middle and an end. Even flash fiction. Many stories submitted to Fictionmagazines.com fizzle out at the end. It is as if the writers can’t figure out how to finish. The ending needs to be strong.
  4. Typos in the synopsis. Sometimes writers are rushing to submit and they don’t proofread their synopsis. It is off-putting to a slush reader to see a typo at the outset.
  5. Make sure your piece has a driving beat. What I mean by that is make sure it moves along. Some stories move slower than others but the story should make you want to keep reading, to turn the page. My main complaint with many of the stories is that they are boring. They drag on and on. I’ll be on page 6 and still have no idea what the story is about. Those get a no from me.
  6. If you get a rewrite and resubmit, be happy. That’s a win. But, if you get feedback, make sure to take it into consideration before re-submitting.  Don’t send us the same stuff without addressing the problems.

2 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned as a slush reader”

    1. You are welcome! I hope it is helpful. I’m going to do another post soon on how to move your writing from exposition to action.

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