I posted on Facebook yesterday a comment about submission guidelines. As I prepared to submit my revamped novel, I was scouring the publisher/agent websites, and I began noticing a pattern. A majority of the guidelines included a warning for certain story elements that would deem the manuscript unfit. I like how Desert Breeze Publishers worded theirs:
“This should go without saying in most cases, but certain story elements will immediately exclude a manuscript from consideration: pedophilia, bestiality, incest, necrophilia, non-consensual sex in any context (rape, forced seduction, etc.) as a means of forwarding a potential romance, and intolerance for any group classification.” (Emphasis mine)
My thoughts exactly; this should go without saying. But I began wondering how many of these manuscripts pass their desks that they felt the needed to place this in their submission guidelines. What would the query letter look like?
Dear Mr. Ed E. Tor,
John will stop at nothing to earn the love of Cindy. But can he overcome the fact that she’s dead?
Farmer Brown and his cow, Bessie have a passionate love they share on their small Texas ranch. But then Baabara, the black sheep of her family, joins the ranch and catches the eye of Farmer Brown. Can John and Bessie’s love survive?
I’m always astounded by the obvious warnings that are placed on products/services. Like one that my husband and I recently saw that caused us to dissolve in laughter in the middle of Wal-Mart. The Shake Weight carries a warning “Keep at least 6 inches away from your face.” If you know what a shake weight is, close your eyes and visualize someone repeatedly smacking themselves in the face with it.
Or the warnings on the Rubbermaid storage containers that tell you not to place your child in the box and close the lid on them. Seriously…never crossed my mind as a good idea.
But how many times in our spiritual life does the Holy Spirit slap a warning tag on our actions. Instead of listening, we ignore it, rationalize it, and keep on trucking into a mess. So next time you recognize the Holy Spirit cautioning you, take heed!