Slush Surfing: In the Beginning

Flash Fiction Online.

So a couple of weeks ago I applied (and was accepted) for a spot on Flash Fiction Online’s editorial staff as a part-time slush reader. If you know what slush is you’re probably slapping your forehead and going “are you f***ing nuts?” Those of you who don’t will need to read these handy links to help you appreciate what kind of hole I just jumped into.

For those who don’t know what flash fiction is, here’s a good backgrounder, along with some great examples. But if you’re too lazy to click through (and you call yourselves Internet users? For shame!), flash fiction is basically a literature format that is less than 1000 words in length. Imagine the literary equivalent of a sushi roll. Plot, character, and theme all compressed into one bite.

Suzanne, my friendly and oh-so-accommodating editor-in-chief at FFO, has given me permission to blog about it. I’ll be posting my reactions to the whole experience, but I won’t be posting the stories themselves, or info on their authors (which I don’t have access to anyway, because we only do blind reading). Privacy, people.


My first surprise came in the form of a website, submishmash, which we use as an online portal to read, rate, and recommend stories. Writers also use it to manage their submissions to FFO. I just started on it, so long-time users might be jaded, but I find that it’s a pretty effective tool for sifting through slush and distributing them to their assigned readers. It definitely saves time and hassle over, say, working off individual Word docs (just the thought of this makes me want to crawl under a desk and hide). It also lets the editorial team work remotely, which is a huge thing nowadays.  

My second surprise came in the form of the slush itself–which, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for my next update to read.

Trust me. It deserves a post of its own.



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