The Dreaded Rejection: Not Right for Us
Do you get nice personal rejection letters that end, “. . . but this just isn’t for us.”? Jessica Page Morrell, a developmental editor, has written a book just for you and it’s a winner.
Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected takes you through the usual discussions on plot, character, etc. but with one big difference. After laying out the basics, each chapter includes a discussion of deal-breakers, or how you can go wrong on each element of fiction. This is invaluable! You can finally start to diagnosis the problems of your novel.
Deal Breakers on Openings
For example, on openings these are some of the deal breakers that will help you diagnosis your novel’s problems.
- Country Roads. The writer takes a tour of the countryside, but there’s no conflict, tension, or anything interesting to keep a reader interested.
- Crash Course. Oh, these stories cram everything into the beginning, including a complete back story.
- The Dud Prologue. Morrell argues that prologues are fine IF they raise issues that will resonate throughout the story. But too many prologues just dribble out information about the day before the story starts, or something equally unimportant. Nameless, faceless villains or victims don’t belong in a prologue
- Mirror, Mirror. Please. No descriptions of the main character via looking in the mirror.
- Not Much is Going On. The character is introduced in the middle of his/her life and nothing interesting happens. The reader is bored.
- Paint By Number. Cliches abound here. “It was a dark and stormy night. . .” is described in paint-by-number language.
- Sensationalized. Whoa! A total explosion of events (totally unbelievable) begins this type story, leaving the author no where to go next, since a conclusion can’t possibly top this.
- Speedway. Vague details, rapid action and thin characterization lend these openings a whirlwind feel that fails to draw in a reader.
- Tear-Stained. Similar to Sensationalized, the melodrama presented here is designed to bring tears, but fails because the reader has no reason to care yet.
See what I mean? Morrell nails the problems inherent in many first drafts of novels. Then, she gives you ideas on how to fix those problems and resources to consult when you need more in-depth information. It’s not anything new, really, but her presentation is clear and focused. The deal-breakers, especially, make this a valuable book for your writer’s shelf.
Find other great books on writing and revising at the Fiction Notes Store.