Slush Pile Horrors

As originally seen on

Calling all editors and slush readers. . .

Got a quirky query, mansucript mishap, or editorial reply FAIL you'd love to anonymously share? Submit them HERE, and we'll post the two best every week!

quirky queries

I have always been sexually attracted to butterflies. I don’t know what it means, but there you are.
Tip to newbie writers: author’s bios are for sharing not scaring!

letters to the editor

In reply to a form rejection letter (can we just say how much we LOVE getting replies to our rejection letters):

Not sure what story you are referring to. My records indicate I had withdrawn whatever it was I sent. Thanks, Writer with the Diminuitive Ego

We’re calling your bluff, dude. You’re not sure which story but you know you withdrew it. Wouldn’t you  have to cross reference that, thereby knowing for certain which piece it was you withdrew to which market? And we have no such emails. But, hey, if it helps you keep your dignity, trying to beat us to the punch when we reject you, then fine.  We’re still laughing over here though. :p

quirky queries

I will read anything, from great novelists to magazine ads. When I rise every morning, I must write to maintain a bit of sanity in my busy day.

And cereal boxes too?! Oh man, you definitely win the award for most avid reader - ever! Here’s something to keep you busy for the next few minutes… May you get great joy from reading your rejection letter!

manuscript mishaps

He helped his cousin up, gently took the card and looks at it. “You and this card, aint worth jack shit anymore.” While he walked away with Gus, he ripped the card in two and thrown them on the ground like yesterday’s newspaper. That was the very last time I’ve hears from him. 

No comment.

manuscript mishaps

The air was thick, reeking of sadness and fresh tears. At least, it seemed that way to Alex, sitting on the crowded, rock-hard church pew, miserably kicking legs too short to touch the floor.

Game on tumblrs: So, tell me, what does sadness smell like to you? 

And rock-hard church pew? Are you effing kidding me. Too many jokes.

And that last bit? You fail at words, friend. Retire your pencils, burn your paper, and run over your word processor, STAT!

manuscript mishaps

We had a lot in common such as; we were neighbors in the old apartment building, went to the same schools, we were video game junkies and we were vivid fans and players of the game of basketball.

Please, this is primary school grammar. Colon. Not semicolon. Augh!

manuscript mishaps

When Adam had sex with Eve he was having sex with his own
flesh. And that was worse than worse than incest. Now I am go-
ing to explain what I mean by worse than worse than incest. If
Adam came from the dust and Eve came from the dust there
would be no incest between them. And what ever they created
would have been a true son and a true daughter. When the true
son and daughter had sex to keep the population going that
would have been incest. And they would have created closer

A true son and daughter or a true brother and sister committing
incest cannot create a son or daughter. They create closer flesh
because the flesh is closer than they were to begin with. So the
first way would be incest and closer flesh. If Adam came from the dust and Eve came from the dust and they had true sons and daughters and Adam had sex with his daughters and Eve had sex with her sons to keep the population going that would have been worse than incest. And they would have created closer than closer flesh. The closer the flesh the worse the incest.

The second way would have been worse than incest and closer
than closer flesh. The way it happened was that Adam had sex
with his own flesh. Eve was bone of his bone and flesh of his
flesh. That was worse than worse than incest and they created
closer than closer than closer flesh. That’s why people create
birthdefects and deformaties. When you marry someone you
are marrying someone that is 3 times closer than a true brother
and sister. There is no such thing as mother and father or sister
and brother or aunt and uncle or nephew and niece or husband
and wife.

Uh, your personal diatribe against religion isn’t fiction. And total word count on ‘incest’ = 29. 

Wrapping said ‘story’ with this…

The creature that Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin filmed in 1967
was half man and half gorilla. It was a female Bigfoot that they nam-
ed Patty. Patty was not a man in a costume, she is not our miss-
ing link and she is not a figment of our imagination. Patty is a crea-
ture that was created by men that had sex with female gorillas and
orangutans a long time ago. Believe it or not, man created his own
evolution. So we are worse than worse than incest and worse than
worse than bestiality. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

1900 - 1.6 Billion People
2011 - 6.9 Billion People
111 years - 5.3 Billion People
Solution to problem - Stop Creating Babies
The life you save just might be the one you don’t create.

And attaching a YouTube video of it.  Also NOT fiction.

manuscript mishaps

I take a deep breathe, feeling my throat closing, shortest of breathe.  I say, “So you don’t love me anymore.  You don’t want to have red-headed babies with me anymore?”

I can definitely say I don’t want to have red-headed babys with you. I mean, babies. Heh.

manuscript mishaps

Dear writer,

Really? When was the last time you saw anyone cry into a handkerchief? Or look in the looking-glass? You need to come up for some air. Rarely have I seen such self-involved and yet completely oblivious autobiographical fantasy.

Chekhov’s story “The Lady with the Dog” does not take place in Atlantic City to a man named Bill Smith with children in high school. He does not encounter the newcomer in the municipal park or the square. There is no square in Atlantic City. Chekhov would be rolling over in his grave right now. No - Chekhov isn’t rolling over in his grave. He can’t. Because he’s been forcibly exhumed.

We are familiar with Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog,” we don’t feel that your alterations constitute a reimagining of Chekhov’s story, and we will not be accepting it for publication.

PS All of Russian literature is weeping.

manuscript mishaps

Watching the trees gracefully glide past, they seem so lonely spread as far apart as they are. Seeing each other and growing, stretching, reaching, but never touching what’s standing right next to them. Something pink glides past reflected in the window. I turn to look, but it’s just another figment of my imagination. I return my forehead to the glass watching the trees glide by.

Gliding trees, now there’s a novel concept for the ice capades!

O2 Prepaid