A Simon & Shuster Writing Editor Tells - "What I Expect When You Submit Your Manuscript"
Anica Mrose Rissi, Executive Editor for Simon Pulse, has created a checklist of things to do to help keep your manuscript from being rejected.
Revise, revise, revise! I don't want to read your first draft, ever. (Tip: Your novel isn't ready to send me until you can describe it in one sentence.)
Start with conflict and tension to raise questions, arouse curiosity, and (like musical dissonance) create the need for resolution.
Start with the story you're telling, not with the backstory.
Throw people directly into a conflict and let her get to know your characters through their actions. (Yes, this is another way of saying, "Show, don't tell.")
Give people something to wonder about and a sense of where the story is going—of what's at stake.
Avoid explaining too much too soon. Don't be obvious. Trust people. Trust your characters. Trust your writing. If you find that long chunks of your story need to include long explanations, go back in and write those chunks better, until the story explains itself.
Make sure your story has both a plot arc and an emotional arc. Cross internal conflict with external conflict. Give your characters moral dilemma, and force them to deal with the consequences of their choices.
Read your dialogue aloud. When revising, ask yourself, "What is the point behind this dialogue?" Make every scene and every sentence count. You should also be asking, "What's the point of the sentence?" What is the point of this scene?"
Use adjectives, adverbs and dialogue tags only sparingly. Make sure your details matter.