for writers and readers….

A Publisher Reveals 9 Things You Should Never Put in a Plot (probably)

Picture credit: vargazs from Pixabay

Blind Eye Books is an American publisher of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance novels featuring LGBTQ protagonists.

Editor in Chief Nicola Kimberling has decided not to say what she wants to see in a manuscript for the very good reason that novelty is top of her list of things she craves for in a submission.

Instead she lists what she doesn’t want.

While some of these are tropes associated with specific genres, a fair few apply no matter what type of fiction you’re writing. Probably. Possibly. See what you think.

Nicola Kimberling’s list:

  • Male Pregnancy—So tired of this.
  • Forcibly Impregnating Lesbians—I’m convinced that this is just some sort of wish fulfillment on the part of people who hate and fear lesbians.
  • Stories Where Four Guys Get Down—I don’t know why, but every story I’ve ever read where four guys got down seemed to lack focus.
  • Downer Endings—Why would I bother to pay money to vicariously fail and die through the transportative power of fiction when I can fail and die on my own anytime I want for free?
  • Second Person—You read this and you think that I’m gorgeous and insightful. You go to your checkbook and you write me a check for one thousand dollars… Wait a minute! You don’t want me telling you how you feel? I don’t either.
  • Virtuous Characters Who Suffer So!—Honestly, I’ve never been Virtue’s biggest fan.
  • Rape, especially Rape as a Motivation—I can’t think of a funny line for this. Probably because I just really don’t think it’s all that humorous. And clinical studies also suggest it’s not really all that “motivational” of an experience either; at least not in the traditional “Anthony Robbins Unleashing the Power Within” sort of way.
  • No ending—You would seriously be amazed at the number of stories I receive that just kind of stop without ending.
  • Suicide—Even Virtuous Suicide. Even suicide that is a metaphor for the larger piece. Just don’t.

Downer Endings
I remember it was only when I jotted down a chapter by chapter outline of a draft novel I was working on did I fully appreciate what I had done to the most appealing character – the one a reader would surely identify with and care about. After we got to know and like her, I threw her into a horrible situation which got worse. And worse. And then the bats flew out of hell (not literally). The end.

You don’t have to be devoted to Happy Ever After endings not to want to invest hours of your life reading Abandon-Hope-All-Ye-Who-Enter-Here novels…

Photo Credit: Arek Socha from Pixabay

No ending Novels
There has to be some kind of conclusion, doesn’t there? Some reason why you have chosen this segment of a character’s experiences to tell as a story. And we have lots of endings in our own real lived lives – we just don’t always see it at the time.

I might have agreed with this a few weeks ago, but I have just finished a wonderful novel published in 2020 where suicide is central to the plot. It is the plot really, or at least the coat hanger that everything else is tied to. I’m not going to name it because obviously that would spoil it for you, but it does prove that once you think of a rule someone has already broken it with brilliance.

What’s your favourite rule breaker novel?
Have you read an Abandon-All-Hope you loved?
Are you keen on novels that peter out without actually reaching a….?

You can find out more about Blind Eye Books HERE


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This entry was posted on May 1, 2021 by in Muse and tagged , , , , .


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