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!

4 thoughts on “Autoreject?

  1. Thanks, Fiona! I'm not doing Pitch Wars this year, but this is a great take away for all querying writers.

    And yes, my first manuscript started with my MC waking up (on the first day of school, no less!) and looking at herself in the mirror. I've come a long way since then, but it's always good to have a reminder.

    Ah, bugbear and shoogle…it's good to have you back on the interwebz. 😉


  2. I also once started a draft with someone waking up, and another with a first day of school. Maybe you just have to get one of those scenes out of the way and then you can proceed and not look back. 🙂


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