I recently finished reading Write Is a Verb by Bill O’Hanlon. O’Hanlon talks about how writers need to emotionally distance themselves from their work and view it through a stranger’s eyes (particularly the eyes of someone who can accept or reject it, like an agent or editor).
Here are eight of O’Hanlon’s hard-nosed questions:
- How is my approach in this work different from anything else I have seen or heard?
- My book reaches a narrowly targeted audience because _______.
- My writing or content is unique because _______.
- I know there are no books out there like mine because _______.
- What will surprise people about my book or my approach is _______.
- The shortest description I can give of my book is ______.
- If I could make a visual image of my book, it would look like _______.
- My book is like [a soothing balm on a painful sunburn; a map to a lost traveler, etc.] _______.