Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Your Manuscript Really Finished? Ask Yourself These Questions

I've been reviewing a lot of manuscripts for the day job lately and I'm saddened as to what some writers believe is a "finished" copy. If you're a writer, please ask yourself these questions before sending to a publisher and/or agent or uploading to Amazon:

  1. Is there a clear story question?
  2. Does each scene contain one point of view?
  3. Does each chapter follow the scene and sequel method?
  4. Are the characters likable, especially the main character?
  5. Is the plot well developed?
  6. Are the characters well developed?
  7. Do the characters change as the plot changes?
  8. Are there enough conflicts throughout the story to warrant the change in the character?
  9. Is there a resolution to the story question? 
  10. Does each scene push the story forward to the ending resolution?
  11. If writing for kids, does it sound like an adult wrote this book, or a kid? 
  12. If writing for kids, does the main character speak like his/her age group?
  13. Is there a good balance of narrative, dialogue, and action?
  14. In the end, does the reader care about the characters?

Some of these questions may seem basic...and they are...but manuscript after manuscript that I've reviewed in the last week (AND even some e-books that I've downloaded over the summer) the author seems to not understand these basic questions.

It's not rocket science, but there is an art form to writing fiction. And, I'm not saying that it's formulated, BUT...authors need to understand these basics before submitting to publishers, agents, AND even uploading their book to Amazon. Hire an honest editor; you won't be sorry.