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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 9 March Retrieved 1 March Retrieved 1 May Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 15 March Association of American Publishers , Inc. Archived from the original on 22 January Retrieved 21 January It is number of words of story words long. I hope you will enjoy it.
Sincerely, Your name Editors need to know the type of story it is, the name and how long it is. Also, a short, formal letter shows that you are a professional.
It is seen as rude and amateurish not to send a cover letter. If you don't, your manuscript will be rejected. It's important to be able to deal with rejection if you plan to be a writer.
However, it is also necessary to have massive self-confidence. Some editors are extraordinarily tactless and make a career out of being critical--to the point where they forget about good writing, but accentuate the slightest diversion from writing convention. Something original, therefore--that is, diverting from the strict conventions of writing--will be panned as the worst writing in recorded history.
So you need to have an invincible self-confidence in order to carry on in the light of harsh criticism. If you're a new writer I'll list the 10 things editors seem to hate most, although in my opinion, more than half of them are necessary for good writing--and their exclusion is the sign of a flat, unimaginative writer. But to keep editors happy, try to follow these rules: Always use the active tense.
Passive tense implies an overly literary tack--apparently this irritates the average reader, who despises literature. It's the prevalent view that people hate narrators and are not patient enough to tolerate anything but action. This is completely false, but once again, to keep editors happy, try not to use a narrator, but instead, show action and dialogue, as if you're writing a screenplay.
Use only simple dialogue tags, such as 'said' and 'asked'. Adding character to your characters is a no-no. Apparently it is the reader's job to imagine what your character looks and acts like. The author has no right to develop his or her own characters or give any hint as to their mannerisms. This also, is silly, but it's one of the editors biggest hangups, so use simple tags.
Make your protagonist 'round'. A flat character does not change or encounter any personal growth within the frame-work of the story. This criticism, I agree with. Round characters are always more interesting and it is not hard to include a personal quest for the protagonist and a conflict for him or her to buck against.
However, I have had this criticism in comic stories under 4 pages, which were not meant to be serious. Often editors forget that in certain stories, round characters would be utterly ridiculous. Use only restricted POV. Editors despise omniscient point of view. They like it if you only know the inner thoughts of one character. In spite of the fact War and Peace has hundreds of characters and hundreds of POV, it is still necessary to please editors.
I'd recommend following this dictum. You can focus on being a real writer like Tolstoi after you have jumped the hurdles set up by editors, and have achieved some success. Do not use cliches. It is impossible to know every cliche there is, but if you know of one, don't use it--that is what editors would tell you. It is obvious, however, that cliches are cliches because people throughout history have tended to write about them.
The reason is because these topics are interesting to human beings. The 'original' ideas, which are not cliches, are not cliches because they are dull--people don't want to read about them nor write about them. However, this fact is not commonly understood and so I recommend taking an interesting topic i. You must include a 'hook'. At the beginning of the story, you need to include some sensational element--or at least something which grabs the reader's attention.
This criticism, is entirely true. A hook, in my opinion, is not necessary for a good story, but it doesn't hurt. It is worth thinking one up. Not only to get editor's attention, but the attention of anyone else who may pick up a copy of your book. Don't use 'flowery language'.
This is similar to 'show don't tell. This basically means, under the edifying euphemism: This may be due to the fact that few people can write beautifully. Simple, screen-play-like, show don't tell writing is much easier, therefore every writer in the world can do it, no matter how bad. Poetic language requires more writing skill and is therefore outside the mainstream. You must remember that editorial criticism is based on very strict conventions of writing. To exhibit superior skills is to break the mold, go against the grain; such rebelliousness assures you a rejection.
This is in the same vein as the whole 'show don't tell' thing. It may pain you to write something so dry, unadorned and unmemorable, but this is one of the biggest hates of editors, so try to exclude all modifiers. Tell everything in the first paragraph. Editors like it if they know who the protagonist is, what they want, and the obstacles in front of them--all in the very first paragraph.
In my opinion this makes all short stories veritably identical and detracts from their spontaneity and emotive appeal--much like reading a technical manual, which all begin and end the same. But this is also one of the very biggest hates of editors, so heed it. This last one is not really a hate. I would just like to make the point that not all editors follow the above 9 conventions, nor is this meant to be in any way a criticism of editors. There are alot of really fabulous editors with incredibly good literary taste--some are published authors themselve.
This is merely a delineation, for the benefit of new writers, of the prevalent hates and hang-ups of the editors I've dealt with. You'll save alot of time, and alot of possibly nasty, tactless rejections if you follow the above 9 recommendations. A few editors, however, made no mention of any of these things and tended to comment on the story's significance and message.
This is always refreshing. Because it is like the difference between a man who sees a painting's beauty, or one who merely assesses it's value. If you want to be a writer and still an artist, you must accept that most editors demand the above conventions be followed to the letter. If you follow them, and submission guidelines, you will be more likely to be accepted by magazines.
But you must never let the petty, small quibblings of the editors turn you off writing, as an art form. It is true, it makes no difference how good your work is, or how artistic or significant. That is not the point.
Saleability is their criteria of worth, not beauty. If you understand the above hang-ups and realize alot of editors do not want to step beyond them, for fear of making their magazine look different from the successful, mainstream ones, you will be able to take it with a grain of salt and realise that their rejections do not mean your work is bad.
In fact, it may indicate that your work is far above the average. If you want to succeed as a writer, in other words, you may have to 'dumb yourself down' abit, just until you're a success, and have more control over your own career.
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