This morning I was dinking around because I have nothing better to do. (I wish that were true.) During that time, I counted up how many manuscripts or partials I’ve read since I started interning. I thought I’d share.
With a couple of vacations and time off not included, I’ve interned for 30 weeks.
Here’s the breakdown for those 30 weeks and the following recommendations I made to my agent.
Read full or partial manuscripts: 66
- Revise and Resubmit: 5
- Offer of Representation: 4
- Rejections: 57
The numbers are a little bleak, I know, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the manuscripts were horrible. In fact many of them were awesome, but just weren’t what my agent was looking for or had other issues. Some of those were well written, prose wise, but fell apart in pacing, conflict, tension, or character development.
I, also, noticed a trend with editing.
- The number one problem with most manuscripts (not a deal breaker for my agent) was that towards the end of the story, there were way more errors than the beginning.
- I can almost always tell when an author wrote their first draft in one tense and decided to switch it to another because there are quite a few verbs written in the wrong tense. (I so understand this problem, since I did the same thing and it’s just awful, almost soul sucking, to have to change the whole manuscript.)
- There were quite a few that felt rushed at the end, like the author was sick of writing the story and the characters, which had such potential in the beginning, fell flat, more one dimensional than real.
- Pacing. There needs to be tension and conflict, otherwise there is no story. So many stories started off strong and died somewhere in the middle or started off weak and picked up in the middle.
Overall, the caliber of writers were/are awesome and it makes me proud to belong to the writing community. There were so many times I said to my husband, “I wish I wrote like that.” So, my fellow writers, keep on writing and keep on perfecting your craft because the odds will be eventually in your favor.