- Stories that do not introduce the protagonist quickly. I'm willing to wait a paragraph, maybe two, but if the protag does not make his/her/its appearance by then, the story is not what I'm looking for.
- Stories that are almost all dialogue. These are often very witty, but wit isn't enough for me. I want a story, not a skit.
- Stories with more than (say) five world-specific idioms in the first few sentences. After reading slush for an hour, my brain just can't handle all that new vocabulary.
- False suspense. (I didn't an earlier post on this). This is the author using a non-specific pronoun to try to create suspense where there isn't any. E.g. "It happened one night." Or "Everything was fine until he came along."
- Stories that begin with the protagonist waking up (bad) in bed (worse) from a horrible nightmare (worst). It shocks me how many stories I read that begin this way.
30 March 2011
Top Five Tough Sells
There are a few types of stories that I nearly always reject--even if they are otherwise well written. If your story fits one of the categories, it might be a tough sell: