Yesterday the agency I intern for had an intern meeting. I love them. They are every month, taught by different agents at the agency, and cover a wide array of topics such as literary scouts, rights fairs, and this month’s topic–editorial agents.

The agent discussed how she noticed that editors were passing on manuscripts for the same reasons. Once she eliminated these problems from her client’s manuscripts she started receiving higher advances. I thought I’d share the list so that our manuscripts can be as shiny as possible too.

  • Pacing
  • Characterization
  • Ending chapters with cliffhangers
  • Line by line cutting–are descriptions, thoughts, too blow by blow
  • Are there too many scenes that are just conversation
  • What is the heroine’s goal, is it clear from the beginning
  • Voice
  • Is the main character likeable
  • Is it marketable?
  • Doing too much set up in the beginning so the story doesn’t start quickly enough
  • Not showing enough growth/change in the main character
  • And her own pet peeves–conversations with “huhs” and “whats” and scenes where the character is just sitting around thinking.

Isn’t this a great list? Is there anything you think should be on there that isn’t?