7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter
1. Generic beginnings: Stories that opened with the date or the weather didn’t really inspire interest. According to Harmsworth, you are only allowed to start with the weather if you’re writing a book about meteorologists. Otherwise, pick something more creative.
2. Slow beginnings: Some manuscripts started with too much pedestrian detail (characters washing dishes, etc) or unnecessary background information.
3. Trying too hard: Sometimes it seemed like a writer was using big words or flowery prose in an attempt to sound more sophisticated. In several cases, the writer used big words incorrectly. Awkward or forced imagery was also a turnoff. At one point, the panelists raised their hands when a character’s eyes were described as “little lubricated balls moving back and forth.”
4. TMI (Too Much Information): Overly detailed description of bodily functions or medical examinations had the panelists begging for mercy.
5. Clichés: “The buildings were ramrod straight.” “The morning air was raw.” “Character X blossomed into Y.” “A young woman looks into the mirror and tells us what she sees.” Clichés are hard to avoid, but when you revise, go through and try to remove them.
6. Loss of Focus: Some manuscripts didn’t have a clear narrative and hopped disjointedly from one theme to the next.
7. Unrealistic internal narrative: Make sure a character’s internal narrative—what the character is thinking or feeling—matches up with reality. For example, you wouldn’t want a long eloquent narration of what getting strangled feels like—the character would be too busy gasping for breath and passing out. Also, avoid having the character think about things just for the sake of letting the reader know about them.
Hope these tips are helpful. Do you see any of these mistakes in your writing?
Last year, I stayed up late
with your hair pressed into my shoulder
because you were sad
and you said we could be lonely together.
You smelt of coconut and
passion fruit because you’d stolen
my shampoo, but you
felt unloved, and I didn’t mention it.
The next morning, I made
you a cup of tea. You told me you only
drank it black, and it went
cold on the windowsill. I think you
went cold too, because you
never spoke of that night again, until
you needed to be lonely
and I said I’d be lonely with you.
Last night, you stayed up late
with her hair pressed into your shoulder
and I couldn’t help but feel sad
because you’d said we could be lonely together
but this time I was alone.
You drank wine and laughed and you didn’t
share either. “You wouldn’t
want them,” you said. I wish you’d asked.
When I saw her this morning
she smelt of strawberries and honey because
she’d stolen my shampoo, and
I bit my tongue twice. She made you tea
with milk and you drank it.
It never went cold, and I wish I’d thought
to tell her that you took it
black, because I was lonely on my own.
Anonymous asked: I have a realllly dumb question, so please forgive me. What is a rough draft? I have heard up to ten different explanations on the definition, and have no idea anymore!
A rough draft, also known as a first draft, is your first attempt at writing your story, and that means different things to different people.
For me, it’s the first time you put all of your ideas on plot and characters for your story down in the format you intended for your story.
I once read somewhere that a rough draft is “a late stage in the writing process”. I think that’s because it assumes that you have done all of the work of learning a language and developing a style and figuring out the structure, character development, and the plot as well as digging into the mountain of necessary research and that are you are now, finally, ready to put all of that knowledge you’ve been accumulating since kindergarten into the story format of your choice.
That idea takes a lot of the pressure off for me because I know that most of the preliminary work is already behind me and my focus (the rough draft) is part one of the two writing processes wherein I get to play.
Because you write the story, yes, but you write it knowing that this is not what you’re going to send to the publisher.
The key is to give yourself permission to not make sense, to drop or pick up weird plot lines at random, to introduce characters badly and write dialogue that doesn’t even sound like dialogue (something I have a major problem with). I can play in my rough draft because I never, ever have to show it to anyone.
This is the secret: Your rough draft doesn’t have to be made of diamonds.
In fact, it will be full of inconsistencies and grammatical errors and times where you said the hero’s name was Dan when really his name was Steve.
People often to think that authors’ rough drafts are this majestic beacon of light, and it’s easy to see the published work and forget all the mistakes and the stupid ideas and the crimes against English grammar that helped build it. I’m begging you to remember the rough draft doesn’t have be perfect.
But what is a rough draft? It’s a possibility. It’s a promise to yourself. It’s a landmark.
I don’t know. You’re making me all nostalgic. Go write or something, would you?
#5 (a ghost from the past) this one i wrote after my last girlfriend and i broke up and its kind of autobiographical in a weird way, you'll see also it was very rushed at the end
WARNING READERS DISCRETION IS ADVISED: although i do not openly state what is going on in this scene it is still quite graphic but i feel needs to be written. it also does not have a proper beginning
she pressed herself to me, touching her lips to mine in an intensely passionate moment. she pushed me against the wall pulling off my shirt and throwing it across the dumpy motel room, i picked her up and tossed her on the bed quickly pulling off her pants then placed my left hand on her right thigh just under her hip. she took off her shirt then immediately went back to kissing me. i pulled off my pants without disturbing the moment.
i gently kissed her down her body removing the rest of her clothing with my concealed knife that was attached to a mesh and metal gauntlet on my wrist. i moved my fingers over her body very gently memorizing every part of it, my fingers moved smoothly over her soft skin.
she held me very close our bodies sweating, burning, longing for the other. she dug her nails into my back taking in a deep breath of air and holding it for what seemed like an hour. i moved closer to her pressing my body against hers, her body spasmed and smashed itself against mine. she placed her hand on the back of my head running her fingers through my hair. she started to tense up, her body becoming more rigid with every passing moment, her head rocked back as she tightly closed her eyes, grabbed the bed sheets, and bit her bottom lip letting a sly little smile slip out. she kissed my neck several times and got up.
i laid in that bed with my eyes closed listening to her pull the cheap plastic shower curtains in place, twisting the old knobs letting the water pass through the old pipes and eventually pour through the mostly working shower head. this hell hole of a motel was in the armpit of this city, i would be surprised if it could even afford a decent water heater.
i could tell she had gotten in now, the water came down in heavier spouts with gaps in the timing between them. without thinking about it i got up and walked into the bathroom getting into the shower with her. she opened her eyes and smiled at me.
“my boyfriend hasn’t ever been able to do all of the shit you do to me.”
she pressed herself against me kissing me again
“too bad we couldn’t do this all the time” her eyes widened as an idea flew into her mind “you can kill him for me!”
i moved behind her so that the water was hitting my back, then i turned her around so her back was to me and i wrapped my arms around her. my left arm went under hers with my and resting on her right shoulder. my right arm went over her right shoulder with that hand resting on her left shoulder giving me perfect access to her neck.
“i could do that. maybe a clean slice along his jugular vein? or maybe i can cut out his heart.” my right hand moved down to cover her heart. “then we could run away and be together forever.”
“really? oh baby that would be amazing.” she turned her head to try and look at me but i turned her around and pushed her against the wall with my hand firmly gripping her neck. i moved closer and kissed her.
“i dont want to see you anymore, all you have ever done is cause me pain.”
she began to panic a bit “baby please dont say such hurtful things” i let go of her neck and brushed the wet hair from her face
“you dont deserve to be told nice things.” i immediately got out of the shower and dried off
“baby i need you…” she said in a quiet depressed tone
she followed me out of the shower and into the front room were i put on my clothes and attached my gear. all she kept saying was ‘baby please dont go…’ and ‘i need you…’
as i got to the door i turned and held her close, by this time she was crying. i kissed her on her forehead “if it makes you feel any better i did love you.” i let her go and left.
when i finally got home i logged onto the assassins guilds private sever and requested a new project, an extremely long one in italy. the description said it would take at least 5 years to complete. it was perfect.
my life here needed to end or at the very least be put on hold. i left that night leaving my cellphone in the trash, the caretakers will take care of the house while im gone. i switched off the lights and left for the airport.