Elements of Fiction
A checklist for your book before editing:
◻ Book title:
Is it the best representation of your work? Does the title match the focal point of the story?
◻ First chapter:
Did you hook your reader, or send them straight to sleep with a boring information dump? Sprinkle your research in as you go.
What does your protagonist want? Where on the page is this stated? If you can't point to it, the reader can't either.
Hints and clues of how the plot may develop. Is it used appropriately, or is your foreshadowing so ridiculously obvious that the reader guesses the ending halfway through? Or does your foreshadowing fail to deliver? Both are disappointing.
◻ Purple prose:
Overwrought and outlandish descriptions that take the reader out of the story. Sometimes less is more.
◻ Satisfying ending:
Is your reader sighing with satisfaction, or did they just hurl the book or Kindle at the wall because now they have to buy book 2 to find out what happens? Don't leave the conflict unresolved.
◻ The five senses:
Taste, touch, smell, sight, sound. Make sure at least one or two of these elements is in every scene, and the reader will swear he was there too.
◻ Sentence length:
Shorter, tighter sentences will increase tension and have your reader on the edge of his/her seat.
◻ Soft breaks:
Is Sally in her bedroom at the end of one paragraph, and magically in Starbucks at the beginning of the next? Add a line or two of space, and a symbol from your keyboard, like the hashtag #, to indicate a character has moved from one setting to another. It's the polite thing to do.
Double spaced, 12 pt. type, one-inch margins, first line indent at .05, no extra space between paragraphs, don't forget to number chapters.
Is Miss Moneypenny spelled three different ways in your manuscript?: Miss MoneyPenny, Miss Money Penny, Miss Money Penney? A quick run of spell check can catch these easily introduced errors.