As many of you know, I teach elementary school (10 - 12 year olds this year). The other day I asked my students what makes a great book. In order, here are their answers in their words (I didn't edit/suggest a single thing)...
- strong beginning/hook
- good conclusion - have to wrap it up right
- interesting characters who act like real people
- interesting setting
- no boring stuff in the middle (they loved when I described this as "saggy middles")
- unique plot twists and surprises
- strong vocabulary - especially good verbs
- suspense - you have to wonder what's going to happen next
- action, excitement and/or horrifying moments
- more books by the author (they don't like when they can't read another by their favourite author right away!)
- good cover and title - otherwise who's going to take a risk?
When I use this as a checklist for my own writing, I realize I'm going to have to work on my cliffhangers. How about you? How does your wip stack up with their list?
Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs and tweets while searching for those HEAs.