It’s hard enough to get published without making rookie mistakes. Those are red flags that tell an agent to stop reading, deposit your baby in the trash and go to lunch.

mistake Photo credit: Nemo

I hate when that happens (one actually called me and told me where he tossed mine), so I’ve collected the fifteen most common cures my agent friends tell me would keep them reading.

  1. Place the reader in time. Give him/her a clue as to the time of day, like a lunch crowd or rush-hour traffic,  so s/he can pay attention to the story. Same goes for the time of year, the season. Are leaves falling? Is heat reflecting off the sidewalk? Do people wear short shorts and crop tops?
  2. Place the reader geographically. It makes a big difference if the character is in an office or a restaurant. That’s easy to get across, too, with…

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