Identify the Red Flags of your Story Before Submission!

How about protecting your work from rejection? 

Some writers can make their writing style stand out despite these errors, but publishers can’t take a look away at the common mistakes we tend to make in our storytelling. So let’s take a quick tour through some of the common red flags our editors have found in their experience at SOOP:

Giving Away the Motives

The mistake lies in explaining the characters’ motives before the character has taken action in the story. Motivational tells can push the reader away and kill the intrigue. 

Explaining the Emotions

Don’t explain feelings! You are denying your readers the possibility of connecting with the story on an emotional level. It’s much harder to feel for a character when you’re told they’re sad than reading how it’s crying on the floor. 


These are tougher to spot because they often feel just fine until you notice that you’re telling the reader what they should figure out by how the character is acting. Charm your reader into the situation or the place, detailing the character’s location or surroundings, and they will connect the dots. 

Breaking the Flow with Placeholders

These are missed opportunities to flesh out a scene, and adverbs are your adversaries. Yet, you can improve a sentence or paragraph by using the meaning of the adverb to add more content. 

Passive Voice Use

They make your writing feel flat and lifeless because the sentence’s subject is being acted upon, not doing the acting. This can make readers feel detached from what’s happening and distance them from the story.

Bad Grammar

Uncorrected stories belong in a drawer, not the marketplace. If people spend their money and time on your book, they deserve to have a professional product. Electronic grammar checks are limited and can sometimes mistake your writing style with the standard writing norms. 


There’s a reason why publishers are wary of long books. New writers take 100 words to say what seasoned writers can say in 10. You’ll turn off readers if your paragraphs are weighty with adjectives and adverbs or clogged with details and repetitive scenes.

It’s never too late to go back and search for these before submitting your work! Take your time to discover the most common red flags that might be restraining your writing from gaining more recognition, and always look for someone who can judge the transition!

For further guidance, feel free to revisit SOOP’s Submission Guidelines

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