Shveta Thakrar put together a post about what I think of as leveling up–meaning, there are a number of commonalities in writing by people still learning writing skills. If these are challenges for you, they might be affecting how your work is viewed, and thus its estimation of readiness (within traditional publishing’s landscape) or readability (within the self-publishing realm). Some of the points that I am particularly in agreement with are 3, 5 (way, way too many eye references in manuscripts, though the tip is more general), 8, 9, and 10.
I’d add a couple more, some easy to fix, others harder:
- Not just point 1, but following a particular sentence structure, one that often becomes illogical: Tying her shoe, she rode her bike. Really? Both at the same time? When I see that pattern repeated, it’s a big warning sign for me that I’m going to encounter more serious problems. I don’t know why that structure happens in tandem with so many others!
- Telling me how to feel. In romances, for an example, it sometimes happens when the heroine meets a new guy and the first thing she notices is he’s hot. In contemporary YA, it happens when the character runs into someone she dislikes and calls her a b—-. (There’s more to say regarding that last one, but in general, trust me to draw conclusions about the complicated, flawed human being, just like you do with the obviously evil baddie.)
- Square dancing: I know that the character whirled to the right, turned to the left, stomped to the window, and swung their partner. I don’t necessarily need to know who is on whose right or even that they moved, unless it’s unclear or it’s important to the action.
This post brought to you because a manuscript that I was certain was ready for publication now has a deal! Congrats, anonymous person.