So over at WriteOnCon the lovely literary Lara Perkins from Andrea Brown Literary, posted about how to know if your MS is ready to query. Now this is something I’ve read a lot about, sometimes I hear only “when it’s finished” and sometimes people give more detail that still isn’t very helpful, but Ms. Perkins provided a wonderful checklist:
Have I asked myself the following big-picture questions about my manuscript—and revised if the answer is no?
- Does my story have a clear beginning, middle, and end?
- Do my characters have interesting and relatable goals in which a reader can invest?
- Are the stakes high?
- Are my characters unique and differentiated from one another—in the way they speak, in the way they act, in the choices they make, in their goals/hopes/dreams?
- Do my characters change throughout the story? Do they have character arcs, with definite beginnings, middles, and endings?
- Are the obstacles that keep my characters from achieving their goals believable and interesting?
- Are all the scenes and characters necessary to the story?
- Is the action moving at a page-turning pace?
- Do my chapter endings and beginnings fit together in a way that propels the reader into the next part of the story?
- Am I the only person who can tell this story and is that reflected in the voice?
- Is the voice consistent and well-matched for this story?
- Is my story different from what’s out there? (Hopefully, this is the easiest question to answer because you’ve been reading constantly in your genre and age group…right?)
This is amazing and as I begin to prepare myself to query for BLOOD OF ISIS, I will definitely be asking myself these questions. This is only step 6 in her post…but you should read the full post.