HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS.
Being the laid-back subtle squirrel he is, Ratastoskr reminded me forcibly,
while guzzling suger-infused ice tea what FIVE tests I could give my book to see if it was ready to face the world.
1.) IS YOUR NOVEL "FEELING" ITS WAY THROUGH THE STORY?
Replace these reactions/actions in between bits of dialogue with dynamic action and body language.
Fix These Issues by:
- Using dynamic language.
- Inject more personality into your characters.
- Change the character’s behavior
- Change the entire scene – move the character around.
Your protagonist should change, undergoing an arc of growth, throughout the novel.
The hero has learned hard lessons, having some of the answers to the questions that puzzled him in the first chapter.
Your heroine of the last chapter would respond differently to the situation(s) of the first chapter.
flaws help readers relate to your heroine even at the end of your novel. Having grown doesn't mean becoming perfect.
3.) IS THERE A RIVETING ENOUGH HOOK FOR YOUR NOVEL?
Like the fox above, is your heroine/hero really in a tight situation? Is it universal, primal and most importantly:
IS IT UNIQUE IN ITS SPIN?
4.) SAY AGAIN?
Go from chapter to chapter reading the dialogue aloud.
Does each character speak in her or his voice.
Could you tell who a character was just from the words and the way she or he speaks?
Does the give-and-take between characters stand out? People talk differently to different persons in their lives.
The manner and attitude of Sally towards her mother is not the same as her dialogue to her best friend,
her boy friend, her pet unicorn (just checking to see if you were paying attention!)
5.) DO YOUR CHARACTERS LIVE IN A CARDBOARD WORLD?
Each of your chapters should appeal to all 5 senses. There is an ambiance to any place you happen to be.
The air to the Badlands is so dry it cuts the insides of your nose and throat when you breathe.
The air you can wear in New Orleans is like a heavy, invisible moist blanket wrapping around your whole body.
And the smells of urine, rotting garbage, and stale beer in the early morning of Bourbon Street would tell you where you were even with your eyes closed.
But in the spring air of early evening, while walking St. Louis garden,
you will catch the throaty laughter of college co-eds as they begin their vacation adventure of exploring the wicked French Quarter.
Of course, there is more.
Asking "How do I know my novel is ready?" is like asking "How do I know I'm in love?"
You just know deep down. It "feels" right.
All your chapters end with a question that has to be answered, a life that has to be saved, or a mystery that pulls you into the next chapter.
You want to be one of those authors who keep their readers up all night reading.
The ending, while perhaps surprising, is logical. It springs naturally from the chapters that went before it.
It answers the major questions of your story. The best endings keep some things in the air, for that is the way of life.
Only half-hour sit-coms neatly tie up everything.