- You have a good balance of showing versus telling. Do you use narrative instead of dialogue?
- There aren't too many similar scenes, too many dialogue scenes over dinner, for example.
- You haven't violated the rules of viewpoint, and slipped out of the tense in which you chose to write. If there are multiple points of view, are the shifts clear to readers?
- You haven’t messed up time. The sun set twice in one day in a chapter of my ﬁrst book, Kill Cue. Luckily, I caught the mistake while rewriting.
- You have your facts straight. For example, the eye colors of your characters should not change from chapter to chapter.
- Your chapters don't all start the same way, with dialogue, description or narration. Vary your chapter beginnings.
- Your chapters don't all end the same way. They should end with some sort of a cliffhanger, something to interest readers enough to keep them reading, but not all chapters should end the same.
- You have used enough detail to set the scene and given readers a sense of what’s going on without using too much detail and boring them.
- Your major characters are believable, with logical motives and real emotions. Would they really behave the way they do in your book? Do we know enough about them? Do they seem real to you?
- Your story unfolds logically. Be sure the chronology of events is clear. If you've made multiple time shifts, such as ﬂashbacks, are they necessary?
- There is a legitimate reason for your protagonist to want what they want. Is it clear why they have selected their speciﬁc goals?
- Your protagonist’s motives to reach the goal are realistic and the conﬂicts facing them are not so over the top as to be impossible to overcome.
- Coincidental good luck does not play a part in working things out. The use of coincidence, the chance meeting on the street, the lucky timing of a phone call, is usually a sign of bad writing.
- Your supporting characters are well developed. Do we know enough background on all of them? Are they reasonably attractive and interesting? Do they seem real to you?
- Make sure your novel begins effectively. Will readers know and care about what’s going on here? Has the beginning grabbed their attention?
- The dialogue is convincing and sounds like real people talking. Is the dialogue convincing and characteristic? Does the dialogue need revision?
- You have the proper balance between showing and telling. Are you giving your readers enough scenes or are you describing too much?
- Your narrative tone is correct. Whether your novel is tragic, a mystery, a romance or historical, does it sound like what it’s supposed to be.
- The novel has dramatic unity. Does a central story question pull your readers through the novel? Individual chapters should have dramatic unity.
- The joyride of the novel leads to a successful payoff. Readers want a satisfying resolution of the story. The stronger the ending, the more likely your readers will recommend the book.
Doing the Make Sure check may seem silly but these are important items you do need to check, based on the knowledge and wisdom of thousands of writers who became before you.
Above from the book NOVEL SECRETS,
available for Kindle for only $.99 cents: