Posted by: “saramegibow” email@example.com saramegibow
Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:04 am (PDT)
HI again –
OOoops – okay, thanks for clarifying. 🙂 My mistake.
Yes, with partials that I pass on there are some fairly strong common denominators.
1) The story starts out with a “data dump.” The hero or heroine is looking over a valley/drinking a coffee/waking up in the morning and thinking etc. They spend pages recounting their life and what led them to the point in the story them find themselves. Or, particularly in fantasy, they spend the first 10-20 pages describing the world and it’s religions or system of government or traditions or history. Of course, one might say, “well the story warms up after that – can’t you just keep reading?” The reason it’s a no is because these same beginning pages are exactly what the editors read when we put a project on submission. If we can’t sell the work, then I would pass on representing it.
2) The voice is awkward. This is one of those situations when you might pick up something and ask yourself, “now what’s going on?” It’s a case of characters acting stiffly or talking too much. Or maybe the “rules” of the world don’t work, or the premise isn’t working.
3) Finally, the last big one that has me send out rejections on partials is when there is just too much telling. It sort of falls under the “awkward voice” category, but it’s a very specific error. This is when the characters in the story want to spend those critical first pages telling me about themselves and their lives instead of living them.
The majority of partials that end up in the “no” pile show one or more of these errors. There are others out there (maybe the plot or the setting just isn’t for me. For example, I have a hard time with scenes of children being hurt or scared and this will nix a project for me if it is going to be a major theme in the book).
I hope this helps!