I’m not sure this has ever been said aloud….
For submissions, I’m pretty certain that writers assume that if the writing is good, an agent is going to be interested in offering representation to the author.
No doubt–good writing is essential but as an agent, I’ve passed on any number of submissions that exhibited some stellar writing. Why? Doesn’t talent trump all? Nope.
The #1 reason I pass on manuscripts with good writing is because of a lack of pacing.
Just recently, I read a submission where I thought the writer was extremely talented. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think that the beginning seemed ponderously slow. I gave up before page 100 despite some lovely lyrical prose on the page. I glanced at the query letter again and there it was, the word count for the story. It was well over 100,000 words for a project that needed to come in more around 80,000 words.
Yep, that confirmed it for me. The plot pacing was way off. Sadly, I just didn’t have enough time in my schedule to try and take on such a big edit to fix it.
So remember, writing talent + pacing = masterful manuscript.
Photo Credit: Marc Falardeau