Read — if you can stay awake for it — this truly horrible story synopsis that was deservedly rejected by DC Comics back in 1993. Then stick around for today’s lesson, kids…
OK, so now that you’ve lost all respect for me as a writer, let me tell you something: That synopsis was actually for a truly amazing story! Honest. It was powerful and character-driven and loaded with pathos.
The problem, of course, is that I gave precisely zero indication of that in the synopsis, choosing instead to write something so generic and vague that the editor in question (quite rightly) wrote “Nothing unique” on it.
Whose fault is this? Duh. Mine. I was trying to hold something back. Trying to keep the story’s twists a secret so as to… So as to…
I don’t know! I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, to be honest with you. When you’re pitching a story to someone, you have to tell them everything. You can’t be coy and hold back the twists and surprises — they need to know these things to decide if they’re going to buy it or not! I got mixed up. I confused the editor for the reader.
Don’t try to impress an editor with your ability to leave him or her hanging off a cliff. Impress him or her with your story.