I read a lot of YA manuscripts that are super interesting. Great premise, smart, insightful writing, nicely developed character arcs, marvelous dialogue. But they just aren’t working.
It’s true. More than once I’ve read a manuscript I really like but for one fatal flaw: nothing happens. I’d say, when I was an editor, this was the number one reason a manuscript got the gong at acquisitions.
In picture books, it’s generally pretty easy to spot. Texts in which nothing happens usually come in the form of a list. It might be a list of things a kid does in a day. It might be a list of something that kid loves. Maybe it’s a list of traits they enjoy in their menagerie of monster friends. But a list isn’t a plot.
It takes a bit longer to identify in middle grade and young adult novels. I’m usually reading…
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