Pictures from the DC United vs Montreal game last night. I admit to a bit of a soft spot for Chris Pontius, so I always take a lot of pics of him but it didn’t hurt my feelings when Santos and DeLeon took their shirts off post-game to exchange jerseys with the Montreal guys. Yes, I am objectifying these men, but will it help if I say I also think they’re amazing soccer players?
For the background on #editreport, please go here. While it normally takes place monthly on Twitter, there are some reports that I want to share with more length, and that’s what you’re seeing here.
Authors often ask for feedback on why a manuscript got a pass, but often, if it were only one thing, we could perhaps ask the author to “fix” it. But in many (most?) cases, there are a number of things that lead up to a pass. In this report, I’ve artificially inserted numbers (the original report didn’t contain them), to show the various things that all summed up to a pass for this manuscript.
1)There are big, juicy moments that are led up to—like [info redacted for privacy of author]—and then in the next scene, we have moved past them and they are summed up. It strips the book of all its tension, and leaves the reader feeling cheated and unsatisfied. 2) Character backgrounds are similarly undeveloped
3)The POV read inconsistent. At first, it alternated between hero and heroine (at points with only a paragraph or two between switches). Then, about 60 pages in, the head hopping started to feature the secondary characters. Which then led to multiple characters having lines of dialogue within a single paragraph. 4) It was like watching the writing devolve the more I read.
5) But my biggest concern with this was the sheer lack of substance. None of the characters went past the surface in terms of depth. 6) Nor did the author dive in and explore character relationships.
7) The author focused too much on being cute and funny, but without any substance or atmosphere or mood infused in the story, it fell flat and felt misplaced. 8) The romance never felt real. It was too fluffy and disingenuous to be taken seriously.
Last Lego post (maybe). Check out this totally awesome Tardis console build someone did. Click through to see detailed pictures. Seriously amazing. I love the things people create with Legos!
Want to build your own Lego Tardis? I found that as well. Actually, I found 2 versions, I think this is the better of the 2.
Want to build your own Lego Serenity? Here you go! I was on a mission and I managed to find what I was looking for in this website with instructions to build your own Lego Serenity (scroll down and dl the stabilized version.) There are even instructions for a Reaver version. Shiny!
These are three things I notice in the first 30 seconds of reading a manuscript. Three things that usually mean a manuscript is going to have to work that much harder in order to convince me to read past page one.
1) If there’s a prologue. Prologues means the first page of Chapter One has to work harder for me. 90% of prologues I see in slush are unnecessary, don’t have a hook, infodump & did I mention are unnecessary? Most times, I’ll skip the prologue and see if the first page of the first chapter has a great hook and compelling writing, but it has to be that much more excellent because the prologue is what I saw first.
2) A major typographical error (usually a word misspelled or a tense misused) in the first paragraph. A typo this early on generally means the author didn’t self-edit, or isn’t a great self-editor and leads me to believe I’ll be looking at a manuscript that’s going to take a tremendous amount of time and energy.
3) Repetitive sentence structure. This often goes hand-in-hand with overuse of the character’s name on the first page. Example:
Kate grabbed her sword. She didn’t know who was behind her, but someone was. Kate turned around. The noise was coming from somewhere in the dark. Kate hesitated a moment. Then Kate rushed forward.
You’re probably all thinking I wrote something that’s an exaggeration of what I see in submissions and…you’d be wrong. I see a lot of these with the same sentence structure used over and over. This makes for seemingly unsophisticated writing and some hard reading, because there’s nothing subtle to discover.
I do a monthly #editreport on Twitter (more info here) and sometimes there are longer reports that I want to share, but it would be impossible on Twitter, with the character limitation. So, instead, I’m going to post them here so you can see more in-depth insight from the editors about manuscripts (but I will still keep these as anonymous as possible)
Report from a freelance editor:
I was initially drawn to this manuscript based on its potential for a series with a strong ‘band of brothers’ feel. Not to mention the potential for the next book, featuring [redacted character/next book info] The early action scene pulled me in immediately.
Yet, this was obviously a work of a first time author. There were numerous clichés, purple prose, awkward dialogues filled with info dumps, unnecessary descriptions. I found some phrasing to resemble ‘Yoda talk’. For example: Strangers they were.
This really began to fall apart half-way through the story. The prose became more clumsy, the numerous arguments between the h/h about who should feel guilty about their predicament became way too repetitive (the scenes read like mirror images of each other), and the characters personalities never developed past 2D.
What was most alarming, however, was that the more I read, the more I realized that this book was like reading multiple clips of [Author X’s paranormal] books. [examples redacted to protect identify of author/manuscript]. I could go on and on. While I don’t think this was intentional on the author’s part, I do think that her attempt to emulate [paranormal Author X] comes through too strongly for comfort.
I just got a little tingle (okay, a big tingle)
Happy Valentine’s Day, Nerds!
Here’s one I understand the emotion behind, but just wish authors would sit on their hands to avoid doing. If you get a rejection letter, please don’t send a response that says “oh, that’s okay, I’ve already self-published/contracted/published it somewhere else and it’s doing GREAT!”
First, it’s rude all on its own. No one likes “neener neener”, and especially in professional correspondence (because that actually makes it UNprofessional correspondence) and the fact that it’s doing great doesn’t mean that we were wrong in saying it wasn’t for us. Lots of great books aren’t for us and get pass letters. We’re not telling you that your book sucks and will never sell. In fact, ours (the Carina Press) pass letter says it may very well sell somewhere else. We’re just saying it’s not a book that we want to acquire. Unless we flat out say it sucks. Which would also be unprofessional.
Second, that means a whole heap of disrespect was being shown—to the editor, to the agent, to the other authors waiting in queue to be read and get a response— by not having the courtesy to withdraw the submission so the editor/agent doesn’t waste time reading something that’s not available anyway.
Also, did I mention it’s just rude?