Thursday, January 24, 2008

I thought they were joking...

...after many queries, a ton of partials, two fulls, and two resubs, I have come to the conclusion that people always--wait, let me stress that--ALWAYS make the same four mistakes.

Passive voice, lots of and then she noticed that, or his angry gaze. Closely followed by the dreaded pov shift, she saw that (notice the passive voice?) her beautiful molten gold hair with auburn streaks she'd artfully placed in it for maximum effect was out of place and he cut her an angry smile at the same time he saw the horror brewing in her over her hair.


I'm not kidding.

The others are, in a query, forgetting to mention what your book is about in favor of how wonderful you are, and realistic dialogue. Nobody wants to read "Hi there, Bob. I saw your car pull up. Come in and sit down, can I get you something to drink. It sure is cold outside. Do you like beer? Or are you a juice person? My mom's a juice person. Thanks for coming over."

Dialogue is a sound bite, not a court transcipt.

I now have ENORMOUS respect for editors, because they have RESTRAINT like you wouldn't believe. I have restraint like I don't believe. And lots of it.

...the flip side is that I now know that a firm grasp of mechanics, good pacing and well-built characters are like rubies. Rare and hard to find.


Alice Audrey said...

You aren't making me feel better about my latest rejection. At least she said I have a good voice.

Unhinged said...

Me, I have YET to be rejected.

Of course, I've never submitted anything, either. That would require me to FINISH something.

One of my worst writerly sins was a passive voice. I read back over some of my old stuff and moan and laugh.

But you know what? I used to write and write and write when I didn't know diddly about writing. Now that I do know more about it, I don't write as much. Can't. Afraid. Lazy.

I'm going to have to start telling myself something positive about my writing, or I'll be eighty before I ever submit anything.

Dayna_Hart said...

*sigh* I wish I could say "I don't do that!" and be smug.

But I don't know...the sheer number of dangling participles in the original (submitted!) version of Go Between still makes me cringe. Not to mention the repeated words and autonomous body parts in the sequel.

jodi said...

lol, Unhingey. Lots of people have that problem. The more you know, the more afraid you get. I'll say something positive about your writing. I didn't want to throw it under the bed--and you can't get better if you don't give yourself permission to suck first. And, don't. So just write, and edit the hell out of it before you submit.

Alice, you know you're good. You just need to find the right place.

and Hi, Dayna...

(remember me whining about "ing" words a couple of months ago? Finding an editor is "How not to write in passive voice in many painful lessons.")