How do you know when your MS is ready to query?

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.

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

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