Ok, so maybe there's no formula, but if your novel involves death, East London or homicidal cowboy brothers, you might be on the right track.
Delayed Gratification Quarterly broke down the 2011 Booker Longlist into themes and motifs. These include everything from suicide and war to jazz and "nanny trust issues."
Click here for larger view
The major finding, though, is that every single novel somehow involved death. I don't know what that means exactly, whether its a direct death in the book, dealing with an earlier death, the death of a pet. But somehow, they all involve death.
Gives a whole new perspective to "killing your darlings."
So what this means, is that my next novel is going to be about homicidal cowboy brothers who live in east London and listen to jazz and fall in love with each other and then want to kill each other. That's gotta win me the Booker.