There is a quote from an anonymous editor on Flogging the Quill that goes like this:
When I read submission after submission after submission -- which, let's face it, is every day -- my mind starts to dull. My eyes begin to glaze from all the black on white. My butt begins to hurt from sitting. I'm pretty hungry (because I'm always pretty hungry), and this is making me cranky. As the day wears on, I get irritable...
Assume whoever is reading your submission is going to be in a terrible mood when they look at page 1.
You just don't have until page 2.
While I am sure that this is a true description of the acquisition part of the publishing process, I find it somewhat upsetting nonetheless. Is it not the acquisition editor's job to be as fair and objective as possible when evaluating submissions? How much good writing is going to get published if all we are worrying about is keeping editors awake with a flashy hook?
After a while, even saving the world is boring.
What I want an editor to say is, "Give me some interesting characters and a setting I want to stay in for a while. Give me lovely writing that is easy on the soul. Author, take me away!"
Because that is how I like to read. Don't challenge me with blood and guts and Hell-knows-what-else on the first page. I know that I have crafted a first page like that for my WIP, but that's because I'm catering to the genre fiction crowd. I really don't like it that much. It's not who I am. And I hate the idea that I have to be something I'm not just to try and get published.
That's probably why my writing is stalled now. I'm trying to live up to all these expectations and rules. The joy is completely gone.
MY eyes are glazing over from all the black on white. MY butt hurts. AND my neck, shoulders and back. I'M getting cranky and irritable.
I know that I need to just go back to writing the way I used to, with passion and imagination, but I have spent so much time teaching myself how to write for "the market", that I can't figure out how to un-learn it.