Pulp is story. Plot. Forward progression. Uncut and unabashed entertainment. For the Pulp Special Issue, tell me a story. Sex and high adventure, fun and guns, splatter and solemnity. Or any other category you can come up with. As long as it arrives in the form of a story.
It is perhaps axiomatic that there exist a finite number of plot lines, that every story that can be told, has been told. Pulp shrugs at this supposition, then casts an unflinching spotlight upon the shades of human endeavor in action, aka The Moment: the grace under pressure, the cowardice. What to do when the cement shoes are being poured? When the aliens have landed? When bad men are at the door and your children ask, Mom, what do we do? When you stand at the edge of a moiling dusty plain with no clue as to its extent, a bounty on your head, a half-empty canteen, four shells remaining? Pulp reworks cliche and controverts convention to emerge, often badly scathed, with a story that somehow we have never heard before. Therein lies the pleasure and the plain fun.
Let us be clear, however: pulp provides no haven for poor writing. Your sentences that smoke out stunning action need to be wrought in the finest of writing steel. If a story confuses, this ought to be an intended subterfuge, not the result of a badly drawn sketch.
Genre: yes, please. Crime, science fiction, fantasy, literary, whatever. I am partial to the hardboiled, the intellectual, the noir, the hilarious, the fantastical, and the hardcore, but am ready to be rocked by any story that sings. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a trivial detail. Remember what the master storyteller Chekhov said, though – if there’s a pistol on the wall in the first act, by the next one it better go off.
Some advice: avoid the laconic beginning. String me out from the very first sentence. Navels welcome, provided they are not too intently gazed upon. Oddity is good, kink is better. Closure not required, but narrative is. Be original. Be ambitious. Make every line pop. My restless eyeballs are always looking for escape. Keep them corralled.
Submissions will be open until 7/1.
This issue will be guest edited by Court Merrigan.