I would prefer not to

A very important post on the problems of finding a traditional publisher for your work by Jane Dougherty who was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.

Jane Dougherty Writes

I was discussing with an editor friend of mine the other day some of the infuriating comments I had received from publishers about a rejected manuscript. I have had a couple in a row now saying more or less the same thing—great story, great writing and we’d love to take it if only you could change a few things. The few things being essentially take out all the imagery, introduce snappy smart-ass dialogue instead of description, cut the number of important characters who the reader will get to know down to two, and get rid of all the passive voice. In other words, rewrite in such a way that my story resembles, in everything but irrelevant details, a hundred other stories that have made money for their publishers.

Keep the language and the concepts simple, they advise, because no reader likes having to think about the meaning of an image…

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4 responses

  1. I followed the link. Interesting and a bit disturbing.

    1. Unfortunately, very true of the business, not only now but for a long time before.

  2. That was interesting post, like Phil, I visited, read and commented. In summary I think we all hear the same thing at the moment, it’s today’s flavour of the moment to write in *this* style.

    I don’t like meddling with an author’s style when it’s a good read. One author said an editor told her that she used too much passive voice. I mean, this was a pretty active novel. I told her not to worry about it.

    Some books are badly written and do hit all the cliché categories. But, truth is, they shouldn’t really be published anyway. They would need a total rewrite, not an edit.

  3. Looks interesting – heading over to read

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