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:~: Monday, August 22, 2005 :~:

More Nationals

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.


Blogger Allison Brennan said...

Great list ... but I want to know what a Scooby Doo ending is.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Scooby Doo Ending. Those would be the ones where you have an info dump at the end, one character puts it all together in dialogue..."Here's what happened and why"...instead of the reader picking up the clues throughout the story.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Carol B. said...

Glad you cleared that up - I was wondering, too. Much too long since I've seen Scooby Doo.

Now that that's all cleared up - what's a 'fluff bag' and why bubble wrap bags? Do they sit around and pop them instead of concentrating on what they're reading?

4:34 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...


Fluff bags are the ones that when you pull them open, all the fluff padding inside falls out, gets stuck in clothing, etc. The editors all said they like bubble wrap bags because they're padded, the pages won't get ruined, and you don't have to rubber band your work together. They don't like rubber bands, binders, staples, etc.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Carol B. said...

::Giggle, giggle, snort!::

I thought fluff bags were maybe those pretty kind the P.O. sells. You know the ones with tulips and teddy bears and such.


4:18 PM  
Blogger TJBrown said...

Thanks for the list. I have an opening line that asks a crazy question. But it is my high concept line and I lurve it. Sob.

10:27 PM  

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