TOP 5 GROANERS Writers Should Avoid
or, How to get Rejected by a Publisher in 5 easy steps,
by Cathy Swann
You know how your story starts with your character waking up from a dream?
Where they dreamed they were running away from something symbolic?
Or you gave the reader a weather report, because the level of precipitation is very, very important to the plot even though it will never be mentioned again?
Or your character gets out of bed from their dream of being chased by a train and they go to look in the mirror and you describe what they see, and you think, I have found it, I have found a way to describe them all in one paragraph and get it out of the way so that I don’t have to think about it later, I can
You’re one bullet away from being a Powerpoint Presentation.
Maybe you wrote about an epic battle between a wizard/elf/mutant/vampire/werewolf and his estranged father. Even though you have the unimaginable power to create entirely new worlds… you don’t, you plagiarize someone else’s world.
Maybe your lead character is perfect and never messes up and always catches on to every ledge they jump for, after all, they are the protagonist. Your protagonist never has any conflict, never makes the wrong choice, never stops to take a shit in twelve days.
Your character, so desperate for relief, must obey a prophecy revealed in the first page of your story and now you drudge forward, knowing what will happen at the end, hoping some suicidal reader will drudge along with you. You’re plodding forward to the anti-climax like some aged donkey because you deleted all the mystery, all the wonderful unknown, all the things that made you feel something.
While you wait, your FBI agent races to find that one guy who is the world’s foremost expert in his field, haunted by his past, and together this unlikely duo must fly across the world and be given full authority over the entire US army to prevent the attack of zombies/ebola/nuclear destruction/beings from another dimension.
Your story ends at the airport, where the rebellious anti-hero runs after the general’s shy daughter and catches her just as she’s about to board the plane.
And you shoot yourself.
As you fall down in slow motion on the tiled floor, security guards rushing over to beat the shit out of you, you wonder, why 5?