There are some signs that your novel is ready to be submitted to the very critical eyes of agents. However, it is best to find people to read it and decide for you. One of the most common beginners' mistake is to submit their story much too early.
Here are some tips:
- Originality (check what is common in your genre and avoid it. Your novel must have a new concept that has not been exploited before, and unusual characters)
- Your story needs to follow conventional plot points and include subplots (study them)
- Arc (the character’s arc is the internal conflict. It needs to be believable and thought through and through. Your character needs to have flaws that will make going on the journey much harder, but he must be essentially good and kind. Your characters need to go through ups and down emotionally. Emotional arcs make relationships more complicated as we read on.)
- Character growth (your character needs to change from the beginning of the novel to the end. A good way to see the growth is to basically rewrite the first scene of the novel at the end of the novel and show what has changed)
- Problems (your characters need to solve every problem themselves without the intervention of fate or other people and the stakes need to be high. The obstacles have to seem almost impossible to overcome, except for a hero. You also need a lot of tension.)
- Wording (you need to master grammar and come up with original ways of saying things and avoid adverbs, pet words like 'just' and 'that' and filter words like 'felt' and 'saw')
- A great twist or surprise ending (if your reader can tell how the story will end or what will happen, you’ve failed)
- Emotional depth (do not forget that your heroes have emotions and feelings. They are not just puppets that act; they are characters people want to identify with)
- Write 3D characters with little quirks and fully flesh them.
- Get rid of anything that does not advance the story or does not add anything to the characterization (that includes the back story, boring dialogues, descriptions, random events)
- Make sure you have rewritten your novel at least three times
- Your novel was read by Beta readers and critiqued by CPs (Critique Partners)