I came across this bit of writing humor involving a college teacher and her student. As soon as I read it, however, I thought it could also apply to an agent or editor reading a writer’s unedited, clearly not ready for publication, manuscript.
Student: I don’t understand why my grade was so low. How did I do on my research paper?
Teacher: Actually, you didn’t turn in a research paper. You turned in a random assemblage of sentences. In fact, the sentences you apparently kidnapped in the dead of night and forced into this violent and arbitrary plan of yours clearly seemed to be placed on the pages against their will.
Reading your paper was like watching unfamiliar, uncomfortable people interacting at a cocktail party that no one wanted to attend in the first place. You didn’t submit a research paper, you submitted a hostage situation.