I love new writers. One of the biggest perks in being the Editor in Chief at Cobblestone Press is finding a fresh, unique voice in the slush pile. Though, honestly, finding such a diamond isn't always easy.
In fact, one of the biggest stumbling blocks in submissions boils down to dialogue and dialogue mechanics. I'm not a grammar Nazi. In fact, unless your grammar is so sloppy that it's distracting I'm not going to notice it much in the submission process. I have editors whose whole job is to make sure your grammar is where it should be by the time your manuscript is ready for publication.
Here are a few things that will kill your submission:
1. Poor mechanics - specifically if your mechanics are so poor that I don't know which character is speaking.
2. Immature characterization - one mistake newbie writers make is to write their characters too casually. It is true that fiction should be informal but even there is an expectation of sophistication by both editors and readers.
3. Scene structure - each scene within a story should have a defined beginning and ending. If it doesn't -- your pace and the construction of the entire project will suffer for it. Each scene within a chapter builds a foundation - to that end a chapter should have the same structure - a beginning, middle, and end.
4. Author vanity - this is a tricky situation. There is a fine line between being proud of your work and introducing yourself in such a way in your cover letter that you insult every single writer in the genre that came before you. Seriously, be careful. This kind of vanity makes it difficult for anyone to believe that you'd be gracious and easy to work with editing.
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I'd like to thank Coffee Time for having me as a guest this week and questions are welcome on this thread through the 31st of October.