Recycling plots and writing formulaic stories is not likely to get a fledgling writer published. Beyond the general advice to keep content fresh, what should hopeful writers do to attract publishers? A recent article in Writer's Digest asked literary agents from various genres to point out the weaknesses and strengths they see in the submissions they receive. Below are the general do's and don'ts of writing in various genres:
Do have an understanding of the conversations that are happening among young adults.
Don't use language that kids don't use. (While writing for children may seem easy, it's actually difficult to capture the way that kids think, talk, and feel.)
Do focus on characters with different socioeconomic issues outside of affluence.
Don't rely on a main character whose sole purpose is motherhood or marriage--at least not without a fresh twist.
Do explore psychological aspects of thrillers--readers crave mind games.
Don't submit work without knowing comparable titles; it's important for editors to know that the writer is knowledgeable of their field.
Do write enough 'action' into your book. Do flesh out the villain of the story.
Don't focus on cliché relationships.. the perfect guy falls for the boring girl.
Do consider female leads for your story.
Don't let your character-building take second stage to your world-building.
And finally.. a little luck never hurts! Happy writing!