Right, since it's only TEN days until submission day, I thought it only fair I fill you in on what would be an instant autoreject from me in a submission. I'm telling you this to save you a wasted entry, because I want each and everyone of you to succeed.
So here goes...
1) Opening in a dream sequence. Really, even if you think yours is super different, it's not for me. I want to see MCs in active scenes, not dreaming about something and being in bed. If you still want me as a mentor, please shoogle this scene to a later date. ;-)
2) Characters describing themselves in a mirror. Just no. Not now, not ever. I hate this. It's probably my biggest bugbear ever. Show me you have skill as a writer and go another route!
3) Animals being hurt. I'm sorry but there is no way in my lifetime I can do this. I turn off movies that show this. I throw books at the wall that show this. My little animal crazy heart can't do this (and if it is a dog or a horse, then woah...I am not your friend!).
4) Too much exposition. I don't mind a little, but if you explain everything to me, I'll feel you don't trust me to work out some things on my own.
5) Too much snark. I love witty characters, but snark feels fake and forced if it's piled on too high.
6) Queries with insanely high word counts. I can handle too high (as I can help you cut) but if we're talking plus 125K for a YA novel, then I don't have a big enough axe handy to chop that baby!
7) Unclear, vague queries (ala "events unfold"). Yes, I would assume events unfold, because it's a book, but WHAT events? Keep your query really, really simple. CHARACTER, CONFLICT, STAKES. That's it. Don't try and wow me with mysterious angles. All I want is a clear query that gets right to the bone of the matter. THAT impresses me.
8) Arrogance in a query. I can't work with someone who is arrogant. Confidence is awesome, but arrogance is a turn-off.
9) Reams and reams of description. I LOVE description. Evocative wonderful words that paint the scene - but if you give me pages and pages with no action...I'm not going to fall in love with your book.
10) Gory, explicit violence. *shudder*
So there you go. Those are usually autorejects for me. That's not to say an agent, mentor, publisher or editor might not love these things; it;s just saying they are not for me.
Remember - research your mentors to give yourself the best possible chance!
I wish you all the best of luck!
Friday, 8 August 2014
Fiona McLaren is a displaced Scot living on the sunny island of Cyprus. She's an author, scriptwriter, and editor. She works alongside Cornerstones Literary Consultancy U.S., and also takes on freelance editorial work. The most important things in her life are her boys, her family, and her partner...and lots and lots of books! She's represented by the wonderful literary agent Maura Kye-Casella at Don Congdon Associates.