Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Edit Reports - Angela James

Ever wanted an inside look at why your manuscript wasn’t acquired? Angela James, Executive editor of Carina Press, frequently tweets some lines from edit reports. I have copied and pasted her tweets below for your reference. The first set are from rejected MSs and the second from acquisitions.
You can follow Angela on Twitter @angelajames, visit her Facebook page or her website.

Frm 2 diff books: "The writing feels choppy and unsophisticated"; "it felt overwritten and excessively dramatic in its prose" #editreport

"little to no tension and I wasn't caught up in the story...the pacing is slow and drags" #editreport

"had one of the most disorienting first chapters I've ever read in a manuscript. I honestly have no idea what happened" #editreport

Frm 2 diff reports: "dramatic and over-the-top" "prologue is so ripe with purple prose" (she included a sample...I agree!) #editreport

"1st chapter was fairly well-written, but not really engaging..." #editreport

"...standard popular trope, didn't sparkle enough in its delivery to make me want to keep reading." #editreport

"This...romance is riddled with errors and cliches." #editreport

"This...romance is okay, but it would need a lot of work and I wasn't engaged enough in the opening pages to want to tackle it." #editreport

"The story was decently written but not engaging." #editreport (seeing a lot of this!)

"The writing is good, but the characters aren't appealing." #editreport

"This...romance is well-written, but the concept itself was just a little too unbelievable for me to suspend disbelief" #editreport

"writing was fairly decent, but the story wasn't compelling enough." #editreport

From diff reports: "She was whiny....not well characterized" "heroine isn't characterized except having X color hair" #editreport

"there's some funny stuff in here, but the setup isn't quite working for me, and the characters sound really young" #editreport

"This...romance plunges you right in the middle of a scene but doesn't really explain it" #editreport (the opposite of info dump!)

"...starts w/ 6 pges of encyclopedic-type entry...cld be a good concept but beginning dragged...had a hard time staying engaged" #editreport

For those just joining #editreport, I'm reading thru 15 freelance editors reports to me on slush they read, & pulling quotes to share w/you

2/2 "There's no action or engaging scenes's basically a really, really long introduction to each character" #editreport

"prose is overly flowery & dramatic & I didn't make it past 1st few pages. It felt like it was trying too hard to be powerful." #editreport

"...romance is well-written & I really wanted to like it, but frankly didn't like hero. He's a little immature & overreactive. " #editreport

"The romance is falling flat. I don't feel the chemistry between the hero and heroine." #editreport

"it's really well-written, but something about it isn't quite striking me the right way...shld have another editor look at it." #editreport

1/2 "1st few chapters really pulled me in, but then it gets slow-paced & overly flowery." #editreport

2/2 "There are a number of scenes just spent on them having sex, frolicking around, without moving the plot forward." #editreport

"This needs more craft work. The writing is choppy, characters didn't engage me. Lots of telling/info drop." #editreport

We acquire abt 7% of what's submitted. MT @julieinduvall: What's % of manuscripts rejected as opposed to rec'd for acquisition? #editreport

However, we reject abt 40% of what editors send forth for acquisition (so they prbbly send forward another 3 % we don't acquire) #editreport

7% we do acquire also includes repeat authors. If you take them out of mix, we probably acquire 3-4% of slush. #editreport

"starts with a prologue that didn't engage me or make me care about the characters" #editreport

"feels like a first manuscript. Lots of errors, choppy writing, not engaging characters. Didn't make it past first scene." #editreport

@Juliana_Haygert nope, but they still have to submit. And we track all submissions, so it's counted in the total. #editreport

"choppily written, lacks cohesion, and the heroine has a cardboard feel to her. Convoluted plot" #editreport

"conflict lacks heart and emotion, and story is difficult to follow. Author switches point of view every paragraph for a while." #editreport

"writing has an edge, but the storyline is too unbelievable as set up, and the characters are two dimensional" #editreport

1/2 "I was instantly drawn in by the unusual setting and promise of fun, quirky characters...." #editreport

1/2 "...such a disappointment. The description of the book sounded so promising..." #editreport

2/2 "Unfortunately, it wasn’t until page 200 that any of these elements were actualized in the story." #editreport

For the next #editreport, I'm doing something I NEVER do: using a service that allows a long tweet. Really want to show you it entirely!

For the next #editreport, I'm doing something I NEVER do: using a service that allows a long tweet. Really want to show you it entirely!

#editreport "...was initially intrigued by the unusual setting, promise of a wide cast of characters, and the early hints that there is more going on than meets the eye. Yet, the author’s voice was inconsistent. The more I read, the more dated and formal the writing became. There was an overload of exclamation marks and overly dramatic dialogue. And with so much focus on every physical movement, the pace became halting and dragged.

But what was most disappointing were the characters. None of them surpassed being 2D."

"No idea what’s going on. Not even sure what decade this is set in. The 80’s? " #editreport

"Query letter is written for an agent." #editreport (this happens with about 5% of our submissions, actually)

"Inconsistent tense—changes from past to present. Wordy. Opening pages are one giant info dump. " #editreport

"Introduces too many characters w/o distinguishing voice/personality—makes it difficult to tell who is who and their importance" #editreport

"think this would need quite a bit of work—lots of overdescribing. But it could have potential for another editor." #editreport

"author has fairly clean writing and a classic voice that I just loved...her world-building felt so authentic" #editreport

"suspense elements in the novel work well...pacing clips along...characters have nice chemistry." #editreport

"Adore this series & love working w/author, who is flexible, professional, detailed & can be trusted to deliver a ms on time" #editreport

And in case you were wondering, yes, knowledge of how the author is to work with does bump us one way or other. #editreport

"author’s 1st person voice really suits the character & there’s some good action & energy & hooks in the prologue &1st chapter" #editreport

"is as intricately plotted as a caper, but with the dense world-building and rich descriptions of the best fantasies" #editreport

"unforgettable, unpredictable, larger-than-life characters whose escapades will have you on the edge of your seat" #editreport


  1. Thank you so much for this post, fab lady. I love you for it. It must have taken ages. Lots of really useful information.

  2. excellent summary! Terrifying and hopeful at the same time.



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