This colorful illustration was sent in by Karen Perrins. Karen illustrates childrens books, commissioned greetings cards, book jackets, packaging design and editorial work. She works in watercolor, pastels, oil pastels and printmaking techniques. http://www.karenperrins.com
1. Does your manuscript start with a hook strong enough to draw your reader into the story?
2. Is the POV consistent in each scene?
3. Are your characters consistent?
4. Is your dialogue consistent, too? Ask a friend to read parts of the book with dialogue aloud. Does the speech patterns sound natural or stilted? Is each voice distinctive?
5. Examine the way the characters respond. Have you developed the character traits and background to support their reaction to the various situations they encounter?
6. Look at your pacing? Do you need every scene? Are there any scenes that slow the pace down to the point where a reader might put down the book?
7. Are there any scenes that might work better in another place in the book.
8. Are there any spots where you are telling when you could be showing?
9. Do you think the middle of the novel drag?
10. Are there passages that are vague or need clarifying?
11. In your last revision, did you delete information that the reader knew in the first draft, but now needs to know?
12. Does each chapter transition smoothly into the next chapter? Do these transitions move the story closer to solving the problem and moving the plot forward moving the story to the climax?
13. Do your chapter endings cause the reader to want to continue reading instead of closing the book for the night?
14. Have you woven in sufficient subplot threads and provided resolutions to each one by the end of the book?
15. Did those subplots remain secondary to the main story throughout the book?
16. Does your protagonist achieve her goal or accept a substitution? Is your ending satisfying, intriguing, or acceptable to keep your readers wanting to read your next book?
17. Do you think you maintained the tone of your story throughout the book?
18. Have you looked to see if there any words you could replace to punch up a sentence or a scene?
19. Did you over write or try to be too flowery with your descriptions. Are there any paragraphs that are too long? Do you have too much exposition?
20. Did you provide enough atmosphere in each of your scenes to enable the reader to feel like they were right there?
21. Do you feel your story evoked all the right emotions? Did you provide highs and lows? Did you create a character that people will want to spend there time with?
Hope you can use this list as a checklist to improve your manuscript. If you have others that you think should be on this list, please let me know. The list doesn’t have to be only twenty-one in total.