In my last post, I mentioned some reasons for which submissions were rejected. With form rejections, it’s not always easy to know why.
Based on my experience as an editorial assistant at Entangled, here are some other reasons that have contributed to a rejection.
- Problematic representation / Stereotypes: I think anyone keeping up with the industry is aware that people are being increasingly vocal about this issue. There was this one submission we received, it’s the closest I’ve come to recommending a project, but there were two issues: the characters didn’t have strong goals (I talked about this in my last post), and the stereotypical and problematic character representation. I just didn’t feel comfortable recommending the project if it hadn’t gone through a sensitivity read first.
- Unrealistic Dialogue: This is something I notice right away, and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Maybe it’s because I’m also used to working with scripts that I’m able to recognize it immediately. I’ve never suggested passing on a project based on this reason alone, but it’s been listed among other issues. It’s not just about the dialogue reading unnaturally, the dialogue has to push the plot forward. I’ve seen cases with pages and pages of dialogue, and yet it doesn’t feel like anything important is being said.
- It’s not high concept: This one is pretty simple. At the moment, Entangled is only taking high concept manuscripts (this is not necessarily the case for other publishers/agents). So often when I have to explain why I’d recommend passing on a project, my explanation is that the work isn’t high concept.
- The writing isn’t there yet: I’ve put this last on the list, but it’s one of the most common problems and the easiest to spot. Sometimes, the problem is with the writing itself (telling instead of showing, passive writing, etc.), and other times it’s because the writing just didn’t pull me in (no voice).
If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or contact me directly 🙂