Road To Publication, Part Four

I’ve steered away from the technicalities, but I think it’s worth dropping a few words of wisdom. I saw some advice from my agent, John Jarrold, on a forum, and it was 10 thing to avoid, basically:

  • Awful dialogue – read it out loud, does it sound natural, coming from your mouth?
  • Hackneyed plots. No discernable focus to the book or sense of continuity.
  • No Clichés.
  • A complete lack of wit or humor.
  • “Characters” who are only talking heads.
  • A lack of background and foreground.
  • No idea of the commercial market
  • Lots of telling from the outside, rather then seeing the story from specific characters’ point-of-view
  • Only use one character throughout a scene, don’t jump around. ‘Show, don’t tell’
  • And, of course: don’t use huge expository lumps. The dreaded info-dump.

These are excellent things to avoid in order to increase your chances or publication. For those who want to know about better control of point-of-view (a common area of confusion), I’d point you right towards George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Here he shifts POV with excellent skill.

There are a billion other things you can do so as not to annoy editorial types. There is a good list of them here and more here.

But that’s all I’m going to mention about technicalities. Why? Because there are too many people giving their opinion,  telling people how to write. All I’ve said is what not to do. You have your own voice, so let it out.

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About Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.