Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stumbled upon this great article yesterday. Writer's Digest compiled a list of what agents hate and it's an eye opener. If you want to land an agent, enter a contest, or approach an editor with your work of art, please do yourself a favor and read this first! The last agent to weigh in is Rachelle Gardner from WordServe Literary, a literary agent that primarily represents Christian fiction.

Teaser: Literary Reps vent about their Chapter 1 turn-offs.

Ask any literary agent what they’re looking for in a novel’s first chapter and they’ll all say the same thing: “Good writing that hooks me in.” Agents appreciate the same elements of good writing that readers do. They want action; they want compelling characters and a reason to read on; they want to feel an immediate connection with your writing.

But what about all those things they don’t want to see? Obvious mistakes such as grammatical errors and awkward writing aside, writers need to be conscious of Chapter 1 clich├ęs and typical agent pet peeves—either of which can get a rejection letter sent your way.

Here, dozens of established literary agents vent about everything they can’t stand to see in your all-important first chapter.

“Most agents hate prologues. Just make the first chapter relevant and well written.”
— Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
“Prologues are usually a lazy way to give back-story chunks to the reader and can be handled with more finesse throughout the story. Damn the prologue, full speed ahead!”
— Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents
“I dislike endless ‘laundry list’ character descriptions. For example: ‘She had eyes the color of a summer sky and long blonde hair that fell in ringlets past her shoulders. Her petite nose was the perfect size for her heart-shaped face. Her azure dress—with the empire waist and long, tight sleeves—sported tiny pearl buttons down the bodice. Ivory lace peeked out of the hem in front, blah, blah.’ Who cares! Work it into the story.”
— Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

The article continues here: http://tinyurl.com/3deuptb


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