I thought some of you might benefit from this.
What Editors Don’t Want To See
(with Abby Zidle – HQN, Krista Stroever – Steeple Hill, Mavis Allen – Silhouette)
1. Queries with crazy opening questions.
Be upfront – why you’re targeting that line, what the story is about. Give a brief bio, but only relevant information.
2. No fluff bags – they like bubble wrap bags.
3. Synopses that don’t show character emotion and growth.
Synopses needs to show not only the plot but how the characters change and what their emotional connection is. Esp. important for Harlequin. Must give the ending, and show an example of your voice.
4. Overdone conflict they’re tired of seeing .
A) Characters who were foster kids and as adults have trust issues.
B) Man burnt by love and now can’t trust his heart again
C) Character whose parents divorced and now has intimacy/commitment issues
5. Plots they don’t want to see.
A) Minister hero falls in love with the bad girl heroine.
B) Romantic Suspense – Heroine has a stalker but refuses police protection or doesn’t call the police when something bad happens.
C) Fake Marriage plots
D) Wimpy heroines
E) Romantic Suspense – Two handsome men, no other suspects. Hello. Dead giveaway. Need more than two suspects.
F) Romantic Suspense – Scooby Doo Endings
G) Big city girl who washes out and goes home because she couldn’t cut it. Tired of seeing the city as the big bad guy, and the small town as the place of salvation
H) Finding faith only in a small town as opposed to the city
I) Witty dialogue that doesn’t move the story forward.
And of course, they were quick to point out for every one of these items they “don’t” want to see, there are always exceptions to the rules. Write a great fake marriage story with only two handsome suspects, and they still may look at the book – all depends on how it’s done.