Before you chalk it up to lame publishers or editors, I'd like to recommend WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL and/or WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK by Donald Maass. This is the man who brought British author Anne Perry's books to North America. He wants to help you edit your manuscript into the next breakout novel. Let him.
How many times have you heard someone say:
"I was rejected for no good reason."
"I didn't write the next Harry Potter, so my manuscript was rejected."
"I'm not surprised my manuscript was rejected; I wrote a literary novel not the next blockbuster."
If you're truly passionate about your craft, you won't nor can you give up. You'll keep plodding, reading, studying and writing. And along the way you'll dissect your favourite novels and determine for yourself why those authors succeeded.
"Inherent Conflict, Gut Emotional Appeal, Plausibility, and Originality."
Donald Maass says if your manuscript has the four components listed above, not only are your chances of staying out of the slush pile good, you may have the makings of a Breakout Novel.
Take down your favourite novels and ask yourself:
INHERENT CONFLICT - No doubt there is conflict in your favourite novel. There is in mine. The question now is: Is there enough inherent conflict in your story? Could you go a step further and dig deeper? Are your characters trying to overcome great obstacles on the way to obtaining critical goals? Will your character lose everything if their goal isn't met?
GUT EMOTIONAL APPEAL - Did you rally behind Harry Potter when he was fighting for his life? Was your stomach in a knot when Tess of the d'Urbervilles confesses her secret to Angel only to be rejected by him? Did you want more for than anything for Anna Karenin to live happily ever after? Gut emotional appeal is when you leave your reader deeply moved by the experience of reading your book. The story stays with them for days afterwards.
PLAUSIBILITY - Did you believe the story's plot could really happen? If Dune is on your list, did you read through without stopping to think: "never could have happened"? Did you find the character acted in a realistic manner and were believable? While reading Harry Potter did you buy into the story's premise? Chances are you did on all accounts.
ORIGINALITY - This doesn't mean you have to come up with a plot line as far out there as The Sixth Sense. What it does mean is you need to tell your story in a new way, a way your reader won't expect. Likely, your story has been told a thousand times before (Romeo and Juliet has), so make certain your characters are fresh and well-rounded, and their quest toward obtaining the all important goal is unique to them. Add originality by doing the unexpected.
If you are already published but have noticed a decline in enthusiasm from your current publisher, Donald Maass believes there is no reason why your next novel can't be a breakout success. Start by building on these fundamentals.