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Your Self-Editing Checklist

And Then The Murders Began....

Fanfare New popular science book: The Reality Frame

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Carol Rose

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Self-editing is a tedious but necessary part of writing. I do this as I go, adding in new items to my master list each time I learn something new about this craft we call writing.

I thought it might be helpful to start a list of what we do in our own work to self-edit. It might help others discover something they aren't doing but should be, or give others a new way of looking at their own work. :)

Here is mine:

*Check for filter words (see blog post on those HERE) and revise when there's a better choice
*Check for consistency of plot points, character traits, timelines, and other details
*Does the dialogue move the story forward, give the reader new information, and/or show characterization? If not, take it out or revise it
*Is this scene necessary? Does it do one of the above? (more the story forward, give the reader new information, and/or show characterization) If not, take it out or revise it
*Have I covered all the senses - see, hear, touch, taste, smell, and feel?
*Have I layered in the emotion, and is it enough?
*Are there any misspelled words, missing words, or commas in the wrong places?
*Have I used phrases or words that distance the readers? (The filter words usually do this!)
*Are the hero's and heroine's GMCs (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) clearly defined, and do they make sense?
*Is the conflict - both internal and external - resolved without the use of last-minute plot devices, or secrets that were not foreshadowed, or that make no sense?
*Have the hero and heroine grown and changed by the end of the story?
*Have I given my readers a good enough reason to care what happens to these two people?

Okay. Your turn! :)
 

Katie-Ellen

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Have I kept my finger firmly on the thread?
Have I achieved/maintained tone?
Is this bit boring? What value does it add?
Have I edited out the life, honesty or colour, out of anxiety that this or that might get someone's goat? Put it back in!
Am I staying true to the central premise?
Am I delivering what I want to deliver?
 

Robinne Weiss

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This isn't a neat and nifty question like yours, but I read my novel backwards to find those grammatical and punctuation errors. Reading forwards, I get caught up in the other issues and the story, but going through it one sentence at a time from back to front makes it just a long list of sentences to be proofread. Quite a helpful trick.

Besides, reading it backwards allows you to hear the messages from Satan. ;) (if you don't get that joke, ask your mum)
 

Marc Joan

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Have I kept my finger firmly on the thread?
Have I achieved/maintained tone?
Is this bit boring? What value does it add?
Have I edited out the life, honesty or colour, out of anxiety that this or that might get someone's goat? Put it back in!
Am I staying true to the central premise?
Am I delivering what I want to deliver?
Particularly like the idea of putting back in the 'goat-getter'. I think I sometimes self-censor too much.
 
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And Then The Murders Began....

Fanfare New popular science book: The Reality Frame

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