Please Support The Writing Show!

The Writing Show Slush Pile Workshop

The Writing Show Slush Pile Workshops are designed to help you practice capturing readers’ attention. On each podcast, Writing Show host Paula B. comments on your anonymous submissions. Does she want to see more, or does she lose interest?  

We’re sure you know how important it is to hook a prospective agent or publisher in your first couple of pages. But if you send your work out before it’s ready, you could squander an important opportunity. Don’t risk it. Try your material out on us first—for free!

Submissions selected for the show will be available to read at

We know how hard it is to put your work out there, so we want to stress that all pitches will be anonymous! (We must know who you are because we need a disclaimer from you, but we won’t divulge your identity.)


  1. Send us your best work!
  2. We accept first chapters of novels, nonfiction works, and memoirs as well as entire short stories. You may include a prologue. Please do not send poetry, plays, or screenplays.
  3. Please limit yourself to two entries.
  4. You may submit published work (as long as you wrote it, of course).
  5. You must not have infringed anyone's copyright. Be sure you have permission to use song lyrics and other copyrighted material that appears within your chapter.
  6. All work must be in English.
  7. Do not send query letters.
  8. No changes to your entry will be accepted after receipt! Please check your work before you submit because we can't keep track of various versions of your work.
  9. You do not have to have finished the entire work.
  10. We accept works by multiple authors.
  11. Please do not snail mail your work to us.
  12. There is no deadline.
  13. There is no entry fee.
  14. Winners of Writing Show contests and participants in other Writing Show series are eligible.
  15. The Writing Show will decide which pitches to feature. We regret that we won’t be able to feature all entries on the show.
  16. Shows will be posted on an irregular schedule. We’ll let you know when we know.
  17. We will not make entries public unless we use them on the show.

How to participate

  1. Send your first chapter of a novel or nonfiction work (including memoir) or short story as an email attachment to Your work may be in .DOC, .PDF, .RTF, or .TXT format. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON THE TEXT! We will be posting these files for the world to see, and we don’t want your name to be displayed. If you include your name on the file, we won’t be able to use your work!


  2. Please format your work so it looks neat, clean, and legible. We prefer Times New Roman font in 11 or 12 points. Courier is also acceptable. Make sure your word wrap works properly. If your text is all over the place and hard to read, we won’t consider your entry.


  3. Use the subject heading “Slush pile series” in your email.


  4. Include your title, word count for the entry and for the entire work (if it's finished), genre, format, and log line. If your work is an article or essay, please describe the larger work of which it is a part, or tell us in what context it's to be published. These items can be on separate lines, in a sentence, or however you want to format them as long as they're clear. A log line is a one- or two-sentence summary of your story. Formats include novel, short story, nonfiction work, etc. Genres include fiction, mystery, science fiction, horror, memoir, self-help, biography, etc. For tips on writing excellent loglines, see


  5. Please include this disclaimer. If the work is not yours, don’t send it: "I am the author of this work and hold all rights to it. (If multiple authors, 'We are the authors of this work and hold all rights to it') I agree to abide by all rules and guidelines of The Writing Show Slush Pile Series. If I am selected, I grant The Writing Show permission to display the work on its Web site or sites."


We will not use your name or email address for any purpose other than to discuss your entry with you. We never give out your personal information to anyone without your consent.

About Paula

Paula Berinstein (Paula B), producer and host of the popular podcast The Writing Show (, is a respected story consultant. She is the author of seven trade books, including Making Space Happen and Alternative Energy: Facts, Issues, and Statistics, and has been a columnist for two magazines. She ran her own research business serving the entertainment industry and other clients for 15 years, and has been a software developer, librarian, and bookseller.

Paula holds degrees in English literature and librarianship/information science from UCLA. She can be reached at