Literary brokers share the magic substances they search for in a novel

How to be a magnet for a literary agent together with your writing (Picture: Getty)

What retains you hooked while you’re studying a novel?

Twists and turns? Great characters? Writing that makes you’re feeling heat and fuzzy inside?

Identifying the issues that make a very good ebook could be key with regards to writing your individual fiction. But what are consultants within the trade searching for in new fiction writing?

We requested Lizzy Kremer, Jemima Forrester and Maddalena Cavaciuti, all literary brokers at David Higham Associates, to share their magic substances for fiction.

So, in case you’re embarking on you personal writing journey, be sure you have a learn to seek out out precisely what individuals within the publishing trade are searching for.

Central characters we will join with

What this implies varies based mostly on the style of your ebook, and certainly the story you might be telling.

Not all predominant characters need to likeable, for instance, however we do must have a transparent sense of who they’re, and why they behave in the way in which they do. Often, we have to perceive and relate to that behaviour, even when it isn’t one thing we might do or condone ourselves.

Character motivation is a observe which comes up typically, so having this discovered early on, and telling a narrative which is true to a reputable set of core concepts and behaviours is all the time thrilling to seek out in a submission.


There are a number of continuously used tropes in business fiction – enemies-to-lovers romances, secrets and techniques from the previous coming to the floor, the unreliable narrator who’s concerned in against the law. All of those have been, and proceed to be, a robust basis for a narrative, but it surely’s vital that your novel takes them in an unique path.

We most likely know that the couple we’re rooting for in a love story will get collectively on the finish, however how will you make the journey really feel unpredictable? 

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh, is a good instance of a love story which pulls the reader in lots of the surprising path.

Equally, there have been many crime novels revealed within the final decade, and many superb twists in these novels. The extra we learn, the extra we turn out to be canny to what a twist is likely to be, so if that is one thing you could have in your work, it actually must pack an surprising punch.

What can we suspect the twist goes to be? How are you able to pull the rug out from beneath us if we expect we’ve bought it sussed?

Something particular within the writing

It feels apparent, doesn’t it? But so typically, that is what ideas the scales for brokers.

We can work with an creator on the construction, tone, plotting and characters of their books, however we want there to inherently be one thing within the writing which units the ebook aside – be that an plain heat, a singular voice, or a depraved sense of humour.

Ultimately, this comes all the way down to the creator – and because of this it’s such a subjective enterprise, and why a lot is alleged about ‘finding the right agent for you’. 

Agents work with authors, not particular person books, so when providing illustration we’re not simply interested by the story in entrance of us however the long run – is that this writing one thing we will get, it doesn’t matter what the subsequent concept is likely to be?


This is such a vital facet of business fiction. We wish to be drawn right into a story within the first few pages and be determined to maintain studying, with the tip of every chapter introducing a small (or large) cliff hanger that makes it unimaginable to place down.

The most partaking novels have an inciting incident early on that drives the tempo and plot of the story, with excessive and low moments of rigidity constructing to a climatic level and a satisfying decision.

Has the primary character misplaced a job, discovered a useless physique, been jilted on the alter, or inherited an previous home filled with secrets and techniques?

The finest novels are so engrossing and well-paced they make the reader wish to keep up all night time or miss their cease on the tube.

The Space To Write Project

Submissions for The Space to Write Project at the moment are closed!

The judges are working via the entries and trying to find racially various writers who’re engaged on fiction that has the potential to be the subsequent smash-hit novel.

The intention of the mission is to supply time, area and entry to writers from underrepresented backgrounds to discover artistic writing and to doubtlessly write the subsequent bestseller.

The mission is a collaboration between Orion Fiction,, main literary company David Higham Associates (DHA), and Arvon, the house of artistic writing retreats.

Writers should be Black, Asian or from an minority ethnic background.

A shortlist of fifteen entrants might be introduced on Monday August 1 2022, adopted by an announcement revealing the winners of the prize on Friday September 30, 2022.

The judging panel contains Lizzy Kremer, literary agent and MD at DHA, Sareeta Domingo, editorial director at Trapeze and editor/contributing author of romantic fiction anthology Who’s Loving You, Mike Gayle, bestselling creator of All the Lonely People, and Natalie Morris, deputy life-style editor at and creator of Mixed/Other.

Do you could have a narrative to share?

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