Sunday, January 03, 2010

What we are thinking about when we're thinking about your book

The complete list of TEN TOP QUESTIONS DUTTON EDITORS ASK is an illuminating list of what editors and agents are thinking about when they're thinking about your book. Here are some of the questions:


Does this story surprise me and take me to places I didn’t expect?

Is this a main character I care about?

Am I personally moved by this story or situation?

Has this been done a million times before?

Is the voice/character authentic and real?


We can fix a lot of things (grammar, syntax and structure) but we can't fix these. These have to be right before we say yes.


16 comments:

Laura Miller Edwards said...

Things for us to be thinking about as we're writing too.

Kristin Rae said...

Thank you so much for sharing bits like this. It's always good to think about these things while writing, and if our stories can't answer YES! to them...it's time to rework!

Sarah said...

Great questions ... great blog! I love finding great blogs.

annerallen said...

Very useful blog, indeed.

Amanda J. said...

Great things to work on while writing. Thanks for sharing!

The Daring Novelist said...

Thank you for the tip on Kathy Temean's blog!

As Laura said, these are great questions to keep in mind when writing. The ones about surprising, caring and being moving are really what I hope we're all going for, even in the small moments. If everything - every choice you make - moves those forward, well, that's delightful.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Another excellent and helpful post. From a readers POV, numbers 2and 10 are most important to me. As for # 7, I think two times is the most I have ever read a novel, but that is just me. Ten times, unless this is listed to over emphasize the point, seems to be a bit much.

T. Anne said...

Perfect. Thanx.

Bethany Wiggins said...

Good to know. Thank you for taking the time to post.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks, that's a great list to have on file for reference.

Margaret Yang said...

@sean patrick reardon--I don't think ten times is an exaggeration. I don't have an editor yet, but I do have an agent. He helped me with revisions. Yes, he read the book (or parts of it) ten times.

Hollie Sessoms said...

I love this! It really boils it down. Thanks for sharing.

Patience-please said...

1. let's say just 10% of the43,021,000 households with dogs, in this country alone
2. yes
3. yes
4. yes
5. yes, and so will adults
6. nope
7. yes
8. yes
9. n/a
10. yes, and yes

I have got to get my revisions done and start querying.
Thanks for the incentive.

Donna Gambale said...

Great links. All authors should consider their work through the eyes of an agent or editor. And we can't forget about the eyes of the reader -- in some ways more forgiving, but also more particular!

Linda said...

Great post! Things to keep in mind when I accidentally steer my MC into the direction of being a damsel-in-distress...

Thank you. :)

Jaycee Adams said...

Sounds like things to have in mind when writing just about anything.