STATUS: Quiet in publishing because it’s MLK day. Take a moment to think about the impact he had on our world today.
I’m happy to say that the e-newsletter is undergoing a few tweaks and will probably be sent out by Friday. Don’t forget that the subscription process is a double opt in so there’s no chance of spamming. You must respond to the email sent to you in order to be officially on the mailing list.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? SAILING by Christopher Cross
Let’s go from computer glitches to writer glitches because these might be the real rejection culprits. Are you ready to get critical and be honest about your manuscript? If so, here are some thoughts to keep in mind.
1. If writing suspense, is your story basically one long chase scene? This is a tough call because there appears to be a lot of events happening but ultimately, when the plot is broken down, and all you have are long, involved chase scenes, you’re going to run into problems.
2. In fantasy, how many scenes do you have where the main characters are sitting around a fire, dinner, at a table (insert whatever) and chatting? Don’t mistake event summary as actual action or scene building. In fact, do we need this summary? Good writers seamlessly interweave any summations to allow the story forward momentum.
3. In all genres, have you mistaken dialogue for action or scene building or for characterization? Remember, there has to be a balance. It can’t be all dialogue at the sacrifice of the other stuff. Some folks are great dialoguers. Don’t rely on your strength to carry a whole novel.
4. I see this a lot in fantasy. Do you have dramatic or action-packed scenes that are great but ultimately don’t further the story any? This is the hardest to be honest about because you love these scenes. They are sooooooo good but if they don’t help to develop the story, you’re going to get dinged.
5. Are you so in love with your characters that you have them do all sorts of fun stuff in scenes but ultimately these scenes don’t interconnect to the main story unfolding? Misguided character love has caused many a downfall for submissions received.
Can you list what actually physically happens in your story? Do it. How many things are on that list? Too many and your story is underdeveloped. Too few and it hasn’t got enough meat to it.
You’d be surprised at how often I pass on good, solid writing simply because nothing happens. Now with literary fiction, you’ve got a little more leeway but it’s the kiss of death for commercial mainstream and genre fiction.