What Agents Hate

What Agents Hate (published by Writer’s Digest). Here is just a taste. Read the full comments to understand what they mean:


“Most agents hate prologues….”
—Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

“Prologues are usually a lazy way to give back-story chunks to the reader….”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents


“I dislike endless ‘laundry list’ character descriptions…. Who cares! Work it into the story.”
—Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“Slow writing with a lot of description puts me off very quickly……”
—Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst Literary Management

“Avoid any description of the weather.”
—Denise Marcil, Denise Marcil Literary Agency

“In romance, I can’t stand this scenario: A woman is awakened to find a strange man in her bedroom—and then automatically finds him attractive..”
—Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency


“A pet peeve of mine is ragged, fuzzy point of view. …”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency

“An opening that’s predictable won’t hook me in….”
—Debbie Carter, Muse Literary Management

“Avoid the opening line: ‘My name is … .’ ”
—Michelle Andelman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency


“…I dislike a Chapter 1 in which nothing happens.”
—Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“ ‘The weather’ is always a problem…”
—Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents

“…there’s a fine line between an intriguing hook and one that’s just silly.
—Daniel Lazar, Writers House


“…a dream….”
—Mollie Glick, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

“…anyone sleeping, dreaming, waking up or staring….”
—Ellen Pepus, Ellen Pepus Literary Agency

“I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter 1…..”
—Cricket Freeman, The August Agency


“I don’t like descriptions of the characters where writers make them too perfect…. ”
—Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

“[I dislike] inauthentic dialogue to tell the reader who the characters are….”
—Jennifer Cayea, Avenue A Literary

““To paraphrase Bruno Bettelheim: ‘The more the character in a fairy tale is described, the less the audience will identify with him. … The less the character is characterized and described, the more likely the reader is to identify with him.’ ”
—Adam Chromy, Artists and Artisans

“…a story that opens on the protagonist’s mental reflection of their situation is a red flag.”
—Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary Management

“Getting to know characters in a story is like getting to know people in real life. You find out their personality and details of their life over time.”
—Rachelle Gardner, WordServe Literary