Things That Will Make Literary Agents Throw Your Novel Across the Room

The first chapter of your science fiction or fantasy novel absolutely needs to hook readers, and that goes double for any literary agents or editors who might be looking at it. But at the very least, you don't want your opening chapter to contain any of the red flags that make agents toss books in the "reject" pile.

Freelance editor Jodie Rennert asked top science fiction and fantasy agents what things make them stop reading a book after the first chapter, and it's pretty fascinating. Totally did not realize that "the main character dies in the first chapter" is a trope — but apparently people are sick of it. Also: prologues, dream sequences, and novels that begin with lengthy descriptions of the world.

Top image: Pelz/Flickr.