While I’m waiting for more entries for the bad cover letter contest. I figured I’d say a little bit more about what it takes to become published or picked up by an agent.
The "it" or portion of "it" that I as a reader, agent and sales schlep is "what" and "who" are operative. What do I know, what do i feel, what do I think.
I want to know what really makes each who tick, and hence who they really are. Knowing what string of actions and descriptors is attached to that name isn’t enough, I want to be able to think about what the character would be like in a different setting in that world, who they would react poorly to, what they would do in another characters place and enough about the secondary characters to know they aren’t just there to be info drops either to the protagonist or antagonist or (worse) the reader, but that they play a part in the first tier characters existence.
The submission I just finished about two hours or so ago when i tweeted about it is one of those books that does this and more. The protagonist, and main antagonist are each shown for what and who they are as pretty normal people caught at opposite ends of a confluence of events. In reading the book, you go along and match each of them, and the next two or three most important characters easily up with someone you’ve met and recognize them as a "real" person. Even some of the next tier of characters will remind you distinctly of people you know directly or indirectly.
Very good book.