I thought I'd do a couple of posts about things I've learned over the past year. Some of these will be thoughts I'm revisiting--others will be fresh, new and sparkly.
Because I spent the summer in full-on-edit-mode, I wanted to start there. Here is a basic editing checklist that works for me.
The Basic Editing Checklist
1 - page numbering and blank pages
2 - spelling and gramar errors
3 - avoid cliches like the plague (hahaha!)
4 - too many adverbs or adjectives (use SPARINGLY at most)
5 - tense consistency and subject/verb agreement
6 - find and replace your over-used words (really, just, some, that, then)
7 - weed out repetitions (including names that sound alike or change halfway through)
8 - look for POV breaks and page balances (balanced white space)
9 - take out any unnecessary (or over-creative) dialogue tags
10 - find someone to give you brutally honest feedback (several someones is better)
Four Self-Editing Tips
1 - Start with the basic editing checklist
2 - Have someone else read it (No, your Mom doesn't count)
3 - Always print off a hard copy and edit from there at least once
4 - Step back and work on something else for awhile then look at it with fresh eyes.
Do You Know Your Vices?
~ Figure out where you are weakest (characterization, plot, continuity, description balance, etc) and strengthen it.
~ Polish until it shines.
~ Trim the fat.- unnecessary characters, descriptions and loose ends- cut anything that doesn't advance the story, even if it's your favorite part!
~ Expand on what's left - dig deeper for all characters, make sure you understand them inside and out and bring them to life on the page.- add active, powerful scenes--pull the emotions out of your reader
1 - Decide if you need to change hats again (writer hat, editor hat, re-writer hat)
2 - If needed, keep working -- make it even better!
3 - Time to celebrate and submit! Don't let your work sit on a shelf unless that was your only goal.