Tests for your novel

10 Simple Tests to do on Your Novel. Here are some points made in this article:

  1. Look for places where dialog is linked to kinds of “looking”.  Take them out.
  2. Make sure your character changes by the end of the novel.  The character at the end
  3. “Write a one-sentence statement summarizing your story that includes the main character, the main theme, and the main problem to be overcome.”
  4. “Read the first paragraph of every chapter. From these isolated paragraphs alone, you should be able to detect forward movement in the story, with both plot and characterization escalating.”
  5. “You want dialog to illuminate character personality and reveal emotion. It can influence or lead other characters. What it should NOT do, however, is be used as a device to state plot facts.”
  6. “Search for the word “as” in construction (e.g., As she ran out the door, she grabbed a sweater from the closet. He pulled on his coat as she started the car.) Breaking these constructions into separate sentences will strengthen your voice and give your story more power.” “Also watch out for -ing action constructions.” “Make the most of narrative beats between dialog. Use the space to create action.”
  7. “Mark references to the five senses in your manuscript. Make sure you have at least three references to the senses per chapter.”
  8. “Don’t use italics for emphasis.” “To make your voice stronger, use an action to denote emphasis, not italics. (e.g., A whiny character saying, ‘I want to go too, becomes, ‘She clutched his sleeve. ‘I want to go.”)”
  9. “Show actions such as observing, judging, acting, and dealing with consequences instead of flat out telling the reader how a character feels.”
  10. “Have someone you don’t know read your pages for typos and errors. Pay extra for each mistake he or she finds.”