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Monday, April 20, 2009

Fiction Submission Checklist

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

So many writers, especially first time authors, struggle with knowing when their book is ready for submission. They've attended a number of workshops, edited and re-edited their manuscript until the story is practically memorized line-by-line, and still, they wonder. Some have entered it in contests, made several critique group rounds, and always it comes back with more suggested changes, something new they hadn't caught or thought about. How will they know when it's ready to submit?

Below is a checklist that might be helpful.

  • Have you met the word length specifications for your target market?
  • Have you handled the appropriate points of view for your characters regarding his background, goals, and personalities?
  • Have you brought something fresh with a new angle and/or twist to the market?
  • Have you established a distinct personality for each of your main characters?
  • Is the tone and setting clearly established from the first page?
  • Does each main character have established goals and motives for both external and internal conflict?
  • Do your characters have depth, flaws, preferences, unique abilities, background, beyond their physical appearance?
  • Do you have a great hook at the beginning, omitted dumping too much background in the first 30 pages?
  • Does each scene raise the stakes of the main characters, while building to the next scene?
  • Does each scene open with a hook and leave the reader hanging at the end?
  • Have you used foreshadowing appropriately without giving away the event?
  • Does each character have his/her own unique voice in dialogue? Is it realistic and appropriate to their education, station, culture, and background?
  • Have you used, but not overused tag lines and dialogue tags?
  • At the end have you resolved all internal and external conflicts and moved the story through a gradual development?
  • Does the story end on a satisfying note?
  • Have you ran a spell check and grammar check or had others read through it?


This is an excellent list!! I'm going to post if from you for my writers group if you don't mind! Thank you!

Great Check list. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

Wow! This is exactly the problem I've been experiencing. Your checklist helps clarify the items I need to evaluate.

Susan :)

What a wonderful list/resource for writers! :)

This is a great list. I'll link it on my blog so my other writing blogger friends can see it.


Hey everyone, I'm glad you think the checklist is helpful. I appreciate the links back. Thank you!