Editing can either be the most painful or the only painless part of the writing process you can go through. It depends on the writer and the piece they are working on. Only one things remains the same. What you’re looking to fix in the work.
So for today I’m giving you a quick checklist to use when you are editing your work(s):
- Plot Continuity Errors
- This is the first thing you look for since it pertains to the big picture. For example if you have a character that is showing wounds in one part of the story, make sure to include that they actually got injured even if your narrator doesn’t see it.
- Another thing for this point, if you are reading through the story take quick notes of what is going on. Does it match with the plot outline/timeline you originally had? Are there some scenes that would be better placed in a different part of the story? When you re-draft those notes will come in handy.
- Overall Flow
- From here it’s mainly sentence/scene removal. When you are reading read aloud and take notes if something sounds wrong or a question comes to mind. If you don’t have room in the margins, write a symbol and add the notes to the end of the printed version or get a lot of sticky notes.
- If you start seeing big chunks being taken out, don’t be afraid. This can be a good thing, but when you start taking chunks out make sure you have everything that mentions it taken out too. So it’s always safe to go back to the first thing on the checklist after you finish this just to be sure you have your bases covered.
- Grammar, in my opinion, needs it’s own step in the checklist.
- Punctuation and Spelling
- Did you mean to put a comma there or a period? Do you really need that many commas in a sentence? Why is there an exclamation point in the middle of taco?
- Try not to let your narrator sound less educated than they are supposed to be.
- This is also the best time for a dialect check.
This is just a small list for when you are going over your work, but you might have other things to look for. What do you think should be included in a editing checklist?
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