Thursday, September 13, 2012

Want out of the slush pile?

Top 5 Reasons Agents Stop Reading (this is from Anita Mumm of Kristin Nelson Literary Agency)

1- Story starts in wrong place (confused about where the action is)

2- Too much set up or data dumping in the beginning

3- No sign of the main conflict (where's this going?  Seems to me this ties in with the first one)

4- Story isn't big enough (this isn't about word count but rather stakes.  Are they high enough?)

5- Mechanic mistakes (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc... It smacks of rough draft.  BTW, Chicago Manual Style is the preferred writing guide)

Foundations of Fiction (why an editor will reject a manuscripts -- this is from Peter Kenftlberg of Kensington Press)

1- POV issues (no head hopping)

2- Tense issues (be consistent)

3- Conflict (it isn't evident right from the beginning)

4- Static characters (they need to change from the beginning to the end -- did they learn anything?  how did they grow?  why can't they go back to the way it was?)

5- Plot (what is the goal or motivation to do something - STAKES need to be high)

6- Pacing (don't have it bogged down in emotion, scene setting or description)

7- Info Dump (lots of background or set up; be careful with this in dialogue as well)

8- Dialogue (use contractions!  characters refer to each other by name too often)

9- Cliched opening (wakes from dream, looks in mirror, in a car)

10 - Mechanics (punctuation, grammar, spelling, voice (how does the voice differ from other books?)

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