First 50 Pages Checklist

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Publish date:

Before submitting your manuscript to an agent or editor, it’s important to make sure your submission package is in the best possible shape it can be. Here’s a checklist that can help you troubleshoot your manuscript and improve your chances of success:

  • How strong is your first line? Make sure you lead off with something that will catch an agent or editor from the very beginning.
  • Do you start with a dream scenario? Because that’s a quick path to rejection.
  • Does your story have an engaging hook?
  • Are you telling instead of showing? Remember the old writing adage “show don’t tell.”
  • Double check your point-of-view. Make sure you don’t have any errors or shifts in POV.
  • Make sure your characters have depth.
  • Is there a lack of beats for pacing and description?
  • Check for stilted dialogue.
  • Are there inadequate descriptions of characters and settings (or details that are introduced to the reader too late)?
  • Are you starting the main action too soon?
  • Are you going into flashbacks too early in the story?
  • Do you jump to a new viewpoint character too early?
  • Is there enough conflict?
  • Is there something at stake for your hero?

** Based on The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors, and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success by Jeff Gerke.

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