When I wrote my first book three years ago--at 110,000 words--I was certain I was set. It was witty. It was funny. It was romantic. It was complete crap.
Except I didn't know it was crap until I joined a critique group. I sent out query after query after query (which was crap, too) and got rejection after rejection after rejection. A few months after I started the querying process, I decided to look for other writers around the area who could read my story and help me make it better.
Who knew there were so many rules?!? Use less passive voice, make it active. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. Don't use -ly words in every sentence--write it better (i.e. don't say "she ran quickly" say "she sprinted"). Agents and publishers hate (!), they only want to see maybe one or two in the whole book--if that many.
Then how do all these other authors get published? There's one series I just can't not read. The mythology the author creates, the adventure she takes the characters on is absolutely brilliant--she's a very creative and clever story teller. It's just the way she tells the story. She does all of those "no-nos" above and more--before I joined a critique group, I probably never would have noticed nor would it have bothered me. But it does. It ruins the whole story for me because I get pulled out of the action or romance because I'm too busy seeing all the things I've been cautioned against.
Anyone else guilty of that? Or have I just become overly critical because, I'll admit, I'm jealous ;-)