by Michael Neff

The below "coverage categories" are not always typical of what every agency uses, however, they are comprehensive and now in use by the AUTHOR SALON NOVEL WRITING PROGRAM. They provide a checklist for dissection and discussion of the novel among professionals on staff, and a checklist to enable a superior self-audit on the part of the writer.
Such a break down of coverage also allows an easier feel for a novel's film potential.  This can be extremely important, esp if the agency works with Hollywood or engages in actual production.

Note, in this example, MARKET VALUE FIRST:

  • Originality, freshness, high concept
  • Clear target readership
  • Hook

  • Act Zero backstory development
  • Concise, effective setup with inciting incident
  • Plot line arc, and subplots (if appropriate)
  • Well designed reversals (major and minor)
  • Pinch points (at least two)
  • Catalytic situation driven
  • Conflict, tension, rising action,
  • Every scene relevant (i.e., to driving plot forward)
  • Effective, believable climax
  • Resolution

  • Antagonistic force
  • Consistent opposition
  • Protagonist’s goals
  • Sympathetic protagonist
  • Protagonist’s arc
  • Supporting characters

  • Scene length and structure
  • Effective transitions
  • Clarity of spatial set
  • Comprehensible prose narrative
  • Tension on the page
  • Dialogue mastery
  • Exposition delivery
  • Narrative composition (quality of set, tension, cinema, character interactions)
  • Cinematic imagery (static and dynamic)
  • Proper point-of-view
  • Wise use of craft technique
  • Interior Monologue and rumination