Escape the Slush Pile: A Self-Editing Checklist for Short Story Writers

By Brandon Taylor

escaping slush pile

This pre-submission checklist, combined with time, patient self-editing, and honest self-assessment, can help your story become that needle in a haystack that editors are looking for.

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A pre-submission checklist for your story

Stories that don’t actually tell a story are commonplace in the slush pile. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you submit your story, including: What is this story about? Are your characters motivated? Does the world need another story like this, told this way?

How to know if your writing is ready for submission

Have you read it out loud, start to finish? Have you set it aside for a week? Did you get fresh eyes on it?

Are you comfortable with receiving edits?

Consider what kinds of edits you are open to and what kinds of edits you are not willing to accept. Where do you want to stand firm and where do you want to give ground?


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