What Publishers are Looking for from Novels in 2024?


Balanced author narration

There is an art to flowing and faced pace writing that accurately and succinctly reveals to the audience the world building inherent in your story. One guideline to follow is selecting if extended conversations or scenes are either appropriate or add anything significant to the chapter or exploration of the themes. If the passages can describe the world building elements without convoluted and clunky descriptions or obvious exposition that fosters better writing. The revelatory moments or delicate character development should be depicted within the narrative itself and flow naturally from the characters themselves. The more subtle writing style will blend motivation and goal-seeking into the action and dialogue scenes. The most successful authors manage to capture that all important middle ground between pacing and the ideas and themes they are intending to express. A good approach many authors attempt is switching the voice of the narrator to different characters. That may sound like a risk adverse venture but many authors appreciate the dividends.


If you are concerned that your novel or story may be impenetrable and that inadvertently you are failing to make the audience aware of necessary story elements, then you need to determine what should be edited and what must remain. The general rule of thumb is to make sure that description scenes are fundamental to the story development and the protagonist’s journey towards the culmination of their individual character arc. The impact of author narration on world building is also important and you should ensure that the most relevant information is conveyed to the readers. Don’t make the mistake of becoming too attached to the world you are creating by filling chapters with pages of irrelevant details. The best authors merge their world building with the development and growth of character, that way author narration is always serving a purpose in story telling.


Dynamic characters that change

In developing protagonists and supporting characters its important to give them complex and conflicting personalities. The best characters have their strengths and admirable qualities as well as their Achilles’ heal and vulnerabilities.  In constructing your characters you should map out where each individuals begins when they are introduced, how they will grow and where they will end up. This includes their motivation and personal goals as characters – and what they want out of life. Sketching out these details will enable the creation of realistic and believable characters that audiences will immediately recognize and relate towards.


In drafting your character profiles a good technique is to create contrasting personalities and antagonist qualities, opposites often attract and endow characters with compelling individual attributes. Once you have settled on the character profiles how then would the individual react to changing circumstances and transform through their experiences? The character growth should flow directly from their outlined nature and reflect dynamic transitions.


Building story arcs

In constructing a narrative for your story whether a romantic fantasy or epic adventure is to develop a singular arc running throughout the piece. What purpose was established at the beginning of the story for your protagonist to accomplish and does the action and internal direction logically address that premise as the narrative progresses towards the conclusion? Each section of your novel or short story should build coherently towards the finale and this includes documenting the protagonist’s journey towards achieving their established personal goals.


If there are scenes that are not seamlessly immersed into the internal narrative structure or are not participating effectively into setting up the primary theme or building towards the finale consider editing them out. Any storyline is only as strong as its constituent elements and unnecessary clutter can only remove the audience attention from the work.


Establishing stakes for the characters

The stakes for the protagonists and antagonists are instrumental in crafting a compelling storyline and essential to dramatic mystery as a piece of popular fiction. The timing of when to inject tension within your novel can be fundamental to writing a successful thriller or murder mystery. A time honored strategy is to keep readers guessing about the ultimate outcome of the action. This can be best accomplished by establishing miniature story arcs which contain conflict and tension throughout the novel.


Through building miniature story arcs you will foster the capability of introducing suspense into the narrative and can then build up the audience expectation of what will happen next. Balance out these internal arcs by including some conflicts where the protagonist prevails and others than end with failure or further complications. Conflicts may also reflect the personal growth of the individuals as they near the fulfilment of their character development. Experiment with different forms of conflict and struggles that the protagonist needs to contend with and overcome.