From The Slush Pile…



At this time of the year agents and editorial assistants heave a sigh and turn to the great stack of manuscripts that have been emailed to them over Christmas. The truth about the slush pile is that actually agents quite like them, but discard 95% of all submissions within a page or two because the creators of most unsolicited manuscripts can’t string two sentences together.

Agents and editors have been known to pass the worst examples of slush writing around, and it’s worth sharing a few here, if only to remind ourselves that there’s an illiterate in the White House and things aren’t about to improve anytime soon;

He snorted mentally.

She did not die from the rapist’s knife but from the deep wound in her ashamed soul.

Her wince was almost audible.

If the worst came to the worst, he could always go for Mark’s juggler.

I won an award in my reception class for writing, and ever since then I have known that it is my destiny to be a writer. I enclose the first 600 pages of my fantasy space opera.

Martin knew that under Jean’s thin veneer of outward convention she was totally naked.

James would never have believed it could happen but six months went by.

She tried desperately to be fair, weighting the question almost as a butcher would with a side of beef and a large set of scales.

We are a normal couple until the lights go down. This is the true story of our erotic journey, illustrated with woodcuts.

The church was as empty as the insides of a biopsy victim.

She listened intently with all her ears.

His bowel movement came out like a steam train, then slowed down as things got more complicated.

‘Pardon?’ she asked in a tone that made me want to wash my hands.

‘Going to the washroom is one thing,’I challenged her, ‘and sneezing with your eyes closed is another. And of course,’ I added sarcastically, ‘death is the baby that makes three.’

I have written a novel about a 35-five-year-old mother of four children and two dogs who has an unfortunate foot rash.

He also gave her the impression of having just stepped off an ironing board.

So I guess the moral is that everyone has a book in them, it’s just that many have blank pages.


15 comments on “From The Slush Pile…”

  1. Brian Evans says:

    More please…..!

  2. Jo W says:

    I want to read more about Mark’s Juggler. 🙂

  3. Brooke says:

    I think the winner of the reception class writing competition will go far….a fantasy space opera in only 600 pages! Think of the franchise opportunities. Have we discovered another J.K. Rowling?

  4. Steveb says:

    Yes I wasnt sure why the fantasy space opera in 600 pages was funny actually…

    I liked the Going to the washroom… best. There’s a truly unique mental process going on there.

  5. Steveb says:

    Ps although the erotic jouney illustrated with woodcuts comes a close second. Though it might be an unexpected bestseller!

  6. Steveb says:

    Death is the baby that makes three! My new catchphrase!

  7. jeanette says:

    Next time someone says I look nice… the reply is going to be………. wait for it…………

    ‘ Thanks, I have just stepped off an ironing board’

  8. Debra Matheney says:

    Hilarious and I need humor. More, please!

  9. Bill says:

    But I liked…

    “Her wince was almost audible.”

  10. Brit Ray says:

    I do find it helpful to weight questions when I’m trying to be fair. (Thanks for the laughs. Wonder if I’ll be giving some of my own to potential agents.)

  11. Martin Tolley says:

    I’m with you Bill. I think an audible wince is something that one Bertram Wooster would possibly have experienced…

  12. Not sure where you found these and don’t really care – they’re too good! So glad none of them are mine, though there are some intriguing ideas there…

  13. Ian Luck says:

    Thank you for providing me with my new favourite excuse: “I am afraid that unfortunately I shall not be able to attend this year’s Hucking Fell Folk Festival and Wicker World, as I have just stepped off of an ironing board…”. Perfect.

  14. Ian Luck says:

    Going for the juggler, is, I believe, the best way to kill a Circus.

  15. Helen Martin says:

    My husband is napping so I am trying to keep my laughter down to a barely audible giggle but it is such an effort. I rather liked the empty church and oh, Ian, “killing a circus” almost did for me.

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