10 Reasons an editor will reject a manuscript

10 Reasons an editor will reject a manuscript

boy-reading-ruinsI recently sat in on an editors panel and came away with 10 reason why an editor will reject your manuscript.  These reasons seem to be pretty consistent with all agents and publishers I’ve heard talk as well.

1- POV issues (no head hopping)

2- Tense issues (be consistent)

3- Conflict (is it evident right from the beginning?)

4- Static characters (they need to transform from the beginning to the end — did they learn anything?  how did they grow?  why can’t they go back to the way it was?)

5- Plot (what is the goal or motivation to do something – STAKES need to be high)

6- Pacing (don’t have it bogged down in emotion, scene setting or description)

7- Info Dump (lots of background or set up; be careful with this in dialogue as well)

8- Dialogue (use contractions! clip your sentences!  characters already know each other, don’t need to use names so often)

9- Cliched opening (wakes from dream, looks in mirror, in a car, at the table)

10 – Mechanics (punctuation, grammar, spelling, voice — how does the voice differ from other books?)

Peter Kenftlberg of Kensington Press says any of these issues will immediately stop him from reading.  He’ll toss the manuscript and pick up the next one.

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