Now that Lord Alexander's Cipher; or, the Bridekirk Behemoth is safely in the hands of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme (Yessss!) I find myself reading articles like this and trying to assess my novel against any criteria mentioned. So when Susan Hill says:
Read the great novels, the classic novels past and present. It is the only way to learn and above all learn how to tell a story.I give myself a tick in the box - I haven't read all those that she mentions, but I have read plenty of others of, I am sure, equivalent merit. Then she says
Try to think of a great novel that does not have a story, memorable characters, vividly evoked settings.and I immediately start to think that I may not have done a good job of evoking my settings vividly. I certainly don't have the long descriptive paragraphs like the opening account of Sale Park in Georgett Heyer's The Foundling, or of Highnoons in The Reluctant Widow. I have a gut feeling that my book is a bit underwritten in this respect, but the great thing about the NWS is that I will get a professional opinion on that in a few weeks' time.
And then I get to the bit where Susan Hill announces the book that she plans to publish:
But I was looking for a full score and I had almost given up hope of finding it when into the box popped the beginning of The Extra Large Medium or Unfinished Business by Helen Slavin.and the first thing that I notice is that the title has an "or" in it, just like mine. Result!