What We Are Looking For

Originally published in 2011, and updated a few times since, but relevant still …

Things to think about if you are considering submitting to Pure Slush … or a Guide (yes, just a guide) to the tastes of Pure Slush.

Founding editor Matt Potter, when asked what Pure Slush is ‘about’ in an interview with Fictionaut in December 2010, said, with reference to flash fiction:

“Fun, humour, attention, absurdity, humanity, love, sex, more fun and more humour and more absurd humanity. (Wank, wank!) Stories big and small, but not too big, hence the 500 word limit. (SEE note below.) Maybe some posturing, but definitely not macho posturing!”

(PLEASE NOTE: while we once had a maximum word limit of 500 words, we no longer do. It is best to check for the minimum and maximum limits for each project.)

(Other interviews with Matt Potter can be found at Six Questions For … and Flash Fiction Chronicles.)

PLEASE NOTE: for Our position on prose poetry, click here.


But what do we like here at Pure Slush? And what do we not like?

Send a story about crocodile hunting, we’re probably not going to like it … unless the macho shithead hero gets his comeuppance.

We also loathe zombie stories, ghosts, vampires, slayers, ghouls, werewolves, yeah anything to do with the supernatural, as well as what many like to call “magical realism” … and anything that is vaguely dystopian will probably earn a big yawn too. Don’t send these stories or poems! We will barely look at them before rejecting them.

Send a story about knitting that’s funny … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story with arty, complex imagery … and we probably won’t like it.

Send an honest story about love or a funny story about sex … and we’ll probably like it.

Send a story that’s stylish but empty … and we’ll probably ask you to rewrite it.

Send a story about human foibles that’s real but has no feeling … and we’ll probably ask you to give it more emotion.

Send a story about war and the battlefield and we’ll probably yawn our way through it (sorry, but true!) … but send a story about the homefront or the army stores or the munitions factories, and we’ll look at it with renewed interest.

Send a story about desperation and we’ll probably like it, especially if it makes us weep … but send a story that’s cynical and jaded and comes not from the voice of experience but from the voice of hip and arrogance and well, it’s not going to do much for us.

Send us a ‘battle of the sexes’ story (he said / she said; he did / she did; how stupid are the opposite sex, hey?) … and we’ll have a hard time with it.

Send a story that’s 1000 words long but only in one or two paragraphs … and we’ll ask you to divide it further.

Or send us a story that is all reported (or indirect) speech – She said (that) she couldn’t keep her breakfast down – and we’ll ask you to make it direct (or quoted) speech – She said, “I couldn’t keep my breakfast down.” (What is this fashion for stories entirely made of reported speech? Direct speech is always more immediate and takes you there now!)

Send a story where you want us to love every single word and space … and not suggest changes … and, um, you will probably be disappointed and / or angry with the response. We enjoy working with writers who want to make their story better: writers married to every word can be tiresome.

Fantasy, sci-fi and horror … none of these are likely to get far either. There are lots of sites out there who love those genres …

But we do, however, love stories about obsession and hysteria!

If you are unsure, send a précis of your story / idea to edpureslush@live.com.au and we will get back to you.

Check out themes and submission guidelines by clicking here.

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