“LID ON CHAPTERS” Writing Criteria

Welcome to The WRITING EQUATIONTM website, home of the LID ON CHAPTERSTMWriting Criteria–an acronym that serves as an easy-to-use, easy-to-recall rule of thumb. It is based on extensive research of literature, articles, how-to writing books, seminars, literary agents, editors, authors, and other sources.

Researching ways to improve your prose, the mission of this website is two-fold: 1) to help writers craft the best stories possible by focusing on the specific story elements that need addressing, and 2) to find the secret formula of story elements that are most impactful on various reader groups by analyzing all critiques collected in The WRITING EQUATIONTM database.

We’re looking for people who love to critique, and writers who want to learn from them. Want to know what criteria literary agents and editors rate highest? What about well-published authors vs. the unpublished, or readers from the Northeast vs. the West, or men vs. women, or young adults vs. the middle-aged?

So what’s you’re function? Do you want the secret formula to success, The WRITING EQUATIONTM? Are you with us? Then let’s get to reading and a-writing! Print this page and hang it on your computer. Lock down your prose and put the LID ON CHAPTERSTM” you write by using the criteria below:

LANGUAGE: the artistic use of words wherein the writing was clear, concise, precise, free of confusion, and flowing; used strong verbs and active voice without relying on adverbs and adjectives; great choice of words.

IMAGERY: good descriptive details, the writing put you right there in the moment to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel everything.

DIALOGUE: the speech of the characters and author seemed realistic and unforced; the author did not dump unnecessary information on the reader.

OBSTACLES: the conflicts and problems of the main characters were large and engaging; the antagonist was a difficult foe for the protagonist.

NEED: the main character had a burning desire to obtain a clear goal; the need was strong enough to carry the story.

CHARACTERS: they were unique, well-defined, realistic, and engaging wherein you cared about what they would do and say next.

HOOK: it grabbed your attention from the start; you wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next and how it would end.

ACTION: there was little downtime in the story as it maintained forward momentum; the author “showed” instead of “told” the story.

POINT OF VIEW: the author stayed with one character’s viewpoint throughout the scene; there was no “head-hopping” or telling the thoughts of multiple characters in the same scene; there was no confusion over who said, did, or thought what.

TRANSFORMATION: the main character made a significant change before the end; the change was realistic, timely, and appropriate given the theme and tone of the writing.

EDITING: the writing was grammatically correct, well punctuated, polished, and clean.

RESONANCE: the ending was surprising and satisfying; the conclusion was strong; you could still feel and remember the writing long after reading it.

STRUCTURE: the plot was well organized and engaging; it was entertaining to guess what would happen next; the flow was logical and not hard to follow.

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