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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Revision Checklist

Revising is often the most dreaded part of the writing process. But having a checklist can help you in the process. Here are 10 things I think about when revising.

1.     What is the real story that I am telling?
2.     How will my character change?
·      Does my character get to where s/he needs to be?
No – How do I make her change?
~  Introduce a crisis situation that makes my character  change.
Yes – Do the things that happen along the way help get my character where s/he needs to be?

3.     What does it mean to move forward?
·      Reveal something about the character.
·      Propel the plot.
·      Build a relationship that is important later in the book.

4.     Summarize the things that don’t move the story forward.
·      An example of this is Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy speaking, but the adults always sound like, “Blah, blah, blah.”
·      One sentence summary of the scene.

5.     Is my main plot a character development arc?
·      Subplots
~  Do they fit in?
~  When do they resolve?
~  How do they resolve?

6.     Characters
·      What are my character's quirks and personality traits?
·      Do my secondary/minor characters grow with each appearance they make in the book? 

7.     Dialogue
·      Do my characters have unique voices?
·      Do they reveal everything about their characters?
An example of this is sub vs grinder (sandwich) 
Their socio-economic placement
·      Does the dialogue let their relationships evolve?
·      How authentic do they sound?

8.     Setting and Description
·      Picture it then brushstroke the description. Let the reader envision it, unless it must be specific.
·      For it to be specific, it must be important later in the book. If not, take it out.

9.     Wordsmith
·      Search for commonly used, but unnecessary words.
~  Examples are just, so, next, that, but.

10.  Show, don’t tell.


  1. These are great tips! I run through a similar checklist, but this is broken out nicely :)

  2. Excellent! I'm sharing your tips with my critique group.

    1. And we appreciate it! Tis is a wondeful list -- very concise and clear! Thank you so much.

  3. Excellent! I'm sharing this with my critique group.