Matt Forney
Spread the Word!
pulp submission contest

Terror House Magazine Pulp Submission Contest: Win Up to $20!

This is a guest post by Reagan Cox.

It’s time for another contest in the House of Terror. Shake that 300 mg caffeine haze out of your dopey head; we want you focused for this one, champ! Or potential champ. In this contest, there is one grand champion who will win $20. Get out there and see how many feet pics you can rustle up for that, sport. Second and third place will get $10, taking a significantly smaller portion of the feet. Fourth and fifth get $5. At the current rate of feet inflation, you’d be lucky to get a toe. This is the only contest that can bestow the title “Feet Pic King of the Literary Underground.” All that we ask for this glorious title is that you write the best pulp story.

What is a pulp story? Named for the paper they were printed on, “pulps” were cheap literature magazines, often read by the working class, in early 20th century America. The Argosy pioneered the form beginning in 1896. They published all genres of fiction for readers of all stripes: love and war, crime and science fiction, westerns and fantasy. This is where America’s countercultural obsession began.

In the 1920’s, the movement picked up steam with pulps like Black Mask publishing classic American crime novels that are still read today, like Dashiell Hammett’s Maltese Falcon. Weird Tales published works by H.P. Lovecraft that captured the public imagination. Many working class women of the ’20s read the short tales in Love Story.

After World War II, the pulp magazine fell out of style and was usurped by paperback novels and comic books, but the pulp soul lived on through these. Its genre and story forms can be seen everywhere in American culture from then to today: Hollywood cinema, TV, video games, science fiction novels, the list goes on. Hemingway may have used pulps as inspiration in forming his populist style. They are a part of the American creative spirit and we want to enter the arena.

Send us pieces in a genre style. Horror, Western, science fiction, crime, romance: all are welcome. It would behoove you to mix them up into something unique that other writers wouldn’t send us. That’s what we’re looking for most of all: unique takes on these established American genres.

Let me narrow it down for you with a handy list of dos and don’ts. Do:

  • See Town, Paul. “Gore is so Passé.”
  • Think Conan, not Tolkien.
  • Try to write in a genre or style that is unique.
  • Blend genres as you need
  • But make it genre fiction, please!

Don’t:

  • Try and do the hard-boiled detective voice. It’s played out.
  • Be boring and pretentious. We want genre fiction with teeth and rhythm.
  • Be afraid to email or DM us on Twitter to work out an idea. We can also get an idea of what genres people are writing in that way.
  • Try to usurp my cyberpunk crown, because I will strike thee down.

Here are the rules:

  1. Write a pulp short story or literary nonfiction piece. Your piece must conform to both the theme and our preexisting submission guidelines (found here). No other types of submissions (poetry, photography/artwork, serialized works etc.) are eligible.
  2. Submit your work via email at submissions [at] terrorhousemag [dot] com or via Twitter direct message at @terrorhousemag. If submitting via email, please use the subject line “Pulp Submission Contest”; if submitting via Twitter, state in your message that the submission is for the Pulp Submission Contest. Failure to do so may lead to your submission being disqualified.
  3. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, July 17 at 2PM Eastern (1PM Central/11AM Pacific/7PM WEST/8PM CEST).
  4. Winners will be announced on Monday, July 22. The first-place winner will receive a $20 prize, the second- and third-place winners will receive $10 each, and the fourth- and fifth-place winners will receive $5 each. These prizes are separate from our $10 Best of the Month prize.
  5. The winning submissions will be published from July 29-August 2. We may also publish some runners-up on August 3 and 4, but this is not guaranteed.

If you have questions about the Pulp Submission Contest, feel free to contact the editors: our email addresses and Twitter handles can be found on the About page here. Good luck!

Cross-posted at Terror House Magazine.