Nov 06 2010
Mail call (the top reason manuscripts get rejected, classes for fiction writers, superhero Cthulhu, etc)
Here are some questions and Google queries I’ve gotten this week.
–I’ve gotten rejected by every literary agent. If we’re talking about fewer than 20 rejections, I’d recommend that you keep trying. If you’ve tried 20 times and haven’t heard back anything after a few months, I’d recommend checking out websites like Query Shark and Evil Editor (which evaluate proposals/queries) or a writing group like Critters or a review forum here. That can help you determine whether you need to rewrite the query, overhaul the story, or both.
–(This one’s a Google search that’s apparently a synopsis excerpt). Ultimately, I am a superhero out to save the city from criminals. With every kill, the world gets better. There are still many people out there. Little do they know I am right there waiting for them, and they will rememb… This story does not strike me as promising. I think giving this protagonist more moral depth and/or empathy would probably make him more likable and interesting.
–What’s the number one reason manuscripts are rejected? I’d say spelling/punctuation/grammar. For authors that clear that hurdle, I think it’s that the main characters and/or plot are not that interesting. For example, check out the previous paragraph. If you were an editor with 100 revenge stories on your desk, do you think there’s any chance that would be the best one?
–How to humiliate a superhero. “That’s the third time this month you’ve gotten your ass kicked by the Sentry, the Golden Guardian of Suck! What next, Squirrel Girl?”
–Will publishers reject you for typos? I think a query with more than 1-2 typos is dead on arrival. Editors might be able to look past something minor, like mixing up “hoard” and “horde.” In contrast, mixing up common words like “you’re” and “your” or “its” and “it’s” suggests that the author doesn’t yet have basic writing craft down. Publishers want works that can succeed with a minimal amount of manpower.