Remarks that won't appear in the rejection letter:

Reading this felt like work, not pleasure.

Oh god, it's another one of those scenes.

Your characters are stupid. They are doing stupid things.

Your characters have stupid names.

Aaaargh, cerulean orbs, die die die.

Yeah, I watched Buffy too.

You can't do that at night in a pre-industrial culture.

You want kowtowing, not cow towing. Big difference.

Don't explain. It isn't helping.

F*ck backstory, get on with the story.

History, politics, medicine, horses, guns.

Your favorite scenes don't connect with the rest of the work.

I am bored. Bored bored bored. You suck.

This falls apart at the end.

This ends on a false note.

Way too many sentences need fixing.


You have become morbidly over-conscious of he said/she said. Unless they're grossly overused, dialogue tags are invisible to the readers. Lose the saidbookisms.

You have become morbidly over-conscious of your repeated use of characters' names. Stop substituting descriptive epithets. You're allowed to use proper names more than once per paragraph when you're describing complex interactions.

(Written by an editor friend of mine; used with permission.)