Monday, August 25, 2008

The Plot is the Thing

I've been asked at conferences and workshops what I look for in a manuscript and I've been thinking (and yes, Virginia, blondes do think... sometimes). I was looking over the books I've edited since I've been with the company and wondering what it was that set them apart from other books. What was it that called to me and said, "yes, this is the book you want to contract."

First and foremost it's been the story. The plot has to capture my attention. I've read other manuscripts and the writing may be clean, the characters may be well-developed and likable, but they leave me yawning. If the plot is fascinating to me, in most cases the other problems can be fixed. It's a "diamond in the rough." It might take some work but that's what I'm here for in my role of editor. If the gem is polished, but there's no fire to the plot, it's a pretty piece of costume jewelry...nice to look at but not worth much.

So... work on the plots. Make sure you have some fire and interest. Make me hold my breath and turn the page frantically to find out what comes next. Then you have my attention and my thanks for bringing me a story I can love.

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