Interview with Matt Potter
Founder of Pure Slush Magazine

matt-potterPure Slush was established in December 2010, publishing flash fiction online for anyone who wants to read it. Moving into print publication in late 2011, what has followed includes two further imprints (Truth Serum Press and Everytime Press) and almost fifty books. There are many more to come – memoir, how-to resources, anthologies, fiction, poetry – so there is always something to like about the entire catalogue. The best words to describe Pure Slush: zesty and cosmopolitan.

Pure Slush founder, Matt Potter, was born in Adelaide and has lived most of his life in Australia … but keeps a key part of his psyche in Berlin. If you want to know more about him and the way he thinks, read his travel memoir Hamburgers and Berliners and other courses in between (Červená Barva Press, 2015). Does his Australian outlook affect the work and the mood and the tone of Pure Slush? Yeah, he reckons it does.

  • You launched Pure Slush in 2010. What was your vision for the magazine then, and has it changed since?

Hmmm … I did not intend to branch out into print publishing, back in late 2010 … but really, it all seems so obvious now, that that would happen and I would then launch two more imprints … all of which publish different things.

  • Can you tell us more about the on-line and print publishing opportunities at Pure Slush?

Print is now bigger and more complex than online … online publishing is (currently) only every three months now, whereas print is more frequent. So far, in 2016, the anthologies Five Pure Slush Vol. 10, tall…ish #11 and Summer #12 have been published. Freak #13 will come out soon (October) and we will have a submission call for Inane #14 later in the year.

Online, we have Cake every day at the moment (September) and to celebrate our 6th birthday in December, we will have Six Tips. That’s six tips on anything you feel like … writing, reading, cooking, hobbies, decorating, leisure, sport, anything … submissions for that will open in November.

  • Your website is packed with different and interesting things to read – stories, interviews and advice, as well as the large number of books to buy in the on-line store. Where would you direct new readers first?

The Store … the books are really the heart of what Pure Slush does now. But the reasoning is still the same … fun and quirky and diverse and interesting.

If you want to find every story, poem, essay Pure Slush has published online, find them all here.

  • I love your ‘Hue Questionnaire’, which asks authors to answer a series of questions about their favourite colour. Some of the answers are like little stories in themselves; some would make great story beginnings. Do you have a current favourite from these questionnaires?

No, not really, as there are hundreds on the site … I am reminded that, despite fancy names like cerise and cerulean and heliotrope and magma, there are only a few colours really on the spectrum. What interests me as much as the colour choice is why they chose that colour, and how they answer the questions. A handful have refused to answer it either by ignoring it, or saying it’s silly … which tells me more than their answers might.

  • In a round-table chat in 2014 with other magazine editors in The Review Review, you mention how frequently writers use indirect or reported speech in their story submissions. Is that something you still see, or are there other trends, which bug you now?

Poetry. Everyone’s a poet now (although I am not!) though I have noticed a slight sway back to direct speech. Which is welcome! I have also come to realise that writers sometimes use reported speech because the punctuation is easier, you don’t have to worry about “ and ” or ‘ and ’ or where to put the . or , or ! or ?

I think punctuation stopped being taught in many English-language cultures at about the same time grammar stopped being taught. The problem is, punctuation can change meaning.

  • You always have themes for your submission openings, but are there any plot lines you would love writers to avoid?

Most editors and publishers moan about submitters not reading guidelines etc … there are genres I loathe, but you can find out more about what we don’t want at Pure Slush by visiting this page.

  • What would you like to see more of?

Intelligent fun that is not smarmy and does not seek to make the writer look brilliant and the reader stupid.

  • Your new book, In the Moment – Practical Tips for bringing your writing to life, is available at the end of this year. Can you give us a summary of the subjects you cover?

Verbs, verbs, verbs and more verbs and then more verbs again. Get the verbs right and half your writing problems are solved. (Really, this is more than true.)

Also, adverbs, clear communication, direct and indirect speech, punctuation … these are all topics I cover.

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