This will be the first of many posts we’ll try to put up on this site regarding submission guidelines, rejections, synopsis help and anything else that can help a writer submit his or her work to a publisher/agent and to deal with the results of that submission. The first article I wanted to show you is actually one written on another blog, which I discovered the other night at my writer’s group meeting (DFW Writer’s Workshop). It’s a post called Reasons for Rejection, and it lists a set of commonly referenced reasons for rejecting a manuscript, everything from poor writing, lack of action, and weak characterization. It’s a nice little reference of writing guidelines to use when editing your own work, so you can make sure you iron out the bad stuff before sending your manuscript in.
Here’s the full post from the Carina Press blog.
1. The manuscript doesn’t catch the reader’s attention from the start.
“I kept turning pages wondering when the author would stop telling me things and let the action actually start.”
“…major info dumps in the first few chapters that slowed the pacing to a crawl.”
“…There is way too much irrelevant backstory at the beginning that slows down the pacing and does not directly affect the immediate plot.”
“…I’m also not sure where the story is going—it seems like it wanders leisurely through the narrative, rather than having a focused plot.”
“Nothing happens in the prologue or chapter one except the heroine thinking and establishing the backstory…”
2. The story doesn’t stand out as fresh or unique.
“No matter how good a story, starting with a [common urban fantasy theme] starts you at the disadvantage of being utterly derivative. In an overcrowded genre, there needs to be something really unique to the writing or world-building to make that scenario stand out, and nothing here does.”
3. The author has included too many unimportant details and not enough important details
“…the narrative was too focused on the superficial chicklit aspects (her hair, her clothes, her dating) at the expense of pacing and plotting.”
“The story gets bogged down by backstory, dream sequences, repetition…”