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Showing posts from October 22, 2020

Protagonist Sympathy Factors in the Hook

Have you ever won a Pulitzer for literature? If so, you might consider disregarding the advice in this section. If not, then proceed. No article here at WE could be more representative of the model-and-context method of novel writing than this. Look at the percentage of novels on the shelf right now that concentrate on creating a character the reader will become concerned with immediately. Quite a few? A novel hook with an interesting, unique, and sympathetic character will make agents sit up and take notice. This is vital to avoiding a rejection slip. A few classic examples of what we're talking about as follows below. Note that all points listed appear in the first 10 to 15 pages.     The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  by Mark Haddon Christopher John Francis Boone - A first-person narrative from an autistic 15-year-old protagonist: "My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cit

Timeless and Valuable - Editor's Rejection Bullets

Betsy Mitchell at Del Rey, imprint of Random House, was inspired to look at the numbers and reasons she rejected the manuscripts submitted to her.  Betsy’s tally starts with March of 2009 and runs to the end of the year.  During that time she passed on 133 manuscripts.  I found it very interesting.  Just remember not to let it get you down.   Here is her list of reasons why: Not what Del Rey is looking for (meaning we had enough on our list already of whatever subgenre was on offer): 22 A good manuscript but not right for our list (included a couple of nonfiction SF-related titles more suitable for a small press, the odd children’s book, etc.) 14 Not a genre that’s doing well right now (horror, mostly; some foreign novels being offered for translation, anthologies whose concepts weren’t strong enough) 18 Simply not good enough (a combination of mediocre writing and/or storytelling) 43 Contains major plot flaws (the story was too predictable, or the author made

THE NOVEL'S "AGON" - Don't Shy Away!

First and foremost... The aspiring author must conceive and plan the steps of central conflict, the major source of drama that drives through the core of the novel from beginning to end and which zeniths with an important climax, the "falling action" of denouement to follow. This is true for nearly every genre-- thrillers, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, historical, etc.--with the exception of the most literary of works. Conflict, tension, complication, drama--all basically related and serving to prevent a reader's eyes from straying. Since the early days of literary time, serving up a big manuscript of quiet is a sure path to damnation. So what is the best way to prevent this? What is the first and most important structural step to avoid quiet and fixate the reader?  Consider "conflict" divided into three parts, all of which you should ideally have present in the novel. First, the primary conflict which drives through the core of the work from beg