Top Ten Signals the Book is One of Mine (Sylvia Kelso)
1. Most often it’s written in first person, sometimes two or even three voices of same. I like first person for the potential to bias and limit the viewpoint, and even better, produce an unreliable narrator. I also like present tense, much to some readers' protests.
2. The characters are smart – all of them. (I get told this, so I hope it’s true.)
3. The hero has a Very Bad Time, not limited to lots of angst.
4. The fantasies, if not the SF, can often be tagged as moral Swords and Sorcery. The point isn’t having power so much handling it morally.
5. There are some literally explosive endings – volcanic eruptions, that kind of thing.
6. There are always politics, NOT intended as allegories of ours, and they’re complicated.
7. The land – or landscapes – are conspicuous, important, and beautiful.
8. The protagonist can be male or female, no apparent continued bias to either.
9. The style is also noticeable. Apparently you’ll either love or hate it. I don’t plan for that, it just happens.
10. There’s more than a dash of sex, not always straight, and the occasional dash of comedy.