Congratulations! You Inherited The Slush Pile!

Maybe I’m just too jaded for my own good, but I’m finding it harder and harder to read for pleasure these days—not due to time constraints, but because we readers have become the recipients of the new slush pile.

I want characters who act like people, who react logically and speak naturally. I want the writer to get out of the way of the story, the words to disappear and the imagery to be logical.

Not like this:

“From the bathroom there was the roaring, monotonous drip of a water faucet.

No matter how quiet the house is, a dripping faucet doesn’t make a roaring sound.

“[Her] joints creaked and groaned like protesting hinges of a long-locked door being opened.”

Joints groan? Honey, if people say “Good evening,” with a Romanian accent when you turn your head, you’ve got problems waaay beyond stiff muscles.

And my new personal favorite:

“Trembling, her head rotated on its axis.”

(This from a romance novel. *facepalm*)

The maxim is clearly playing out: “New writers don’t know what they don’t know.”

I know. I’m one of them. And I saw this happen within my own work.

But I haven’t put my stuff out there as a finished product. I’m not charging money for it. If you reach that point without doing your homework, you deserve those low reviews. The reviewers aren’t grammar nazis, or punctuation drill sergeants; they’re readers who wanted to like your story, but didn’t because they couldn’t see past your lack of craft. And the fact that they spent money on it tends to make people cranky.

I will willingly suspend disbelief for any type of story that’s well-written. Make me see the story, feel the emotion and love your characters…not your writing!


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