One of the hardest parts of writing a novel and editing it is seeing your work objectively. Use this revision checklist to identify areas where your book needs additional editing.
- Does the main plot arc initiate close enough to the beginning that you won’t lose the reader?
- Does your protagonist alternate between up and down moments, with the most intense towards the end?
- Are you able to trace the major plot arcs throughout the book? Do they have up and down moments?
- Do you have enough conflict?
- Does the reader see both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters?
- Do your characters have backstories and histories? Do these impact the plot?
- Is the pacing correct for your genre? Is it consistent?
- Is your voice consistent? Is it overly chatty or sarcastic?
- Is the tense completely consistent? Is the perspective consistent?
- Is there sufficient description that your reader feels grounded in the characters’ world?
- Is there too much description? (David R. Slayton)
- Are momentous events given the weight they deserve?
- Look closely at each chapter. If you can take out a chapter and the plot will still make sense, is it really necessary? Should some events be folded in with others?
- Do the relationships between your characters develop and change and become more complicated as the book goes on?
- What do your characters want? Is it apparent to the reader? Do they have both conscious and unconscious motivations?
- Do you know what your writing tics are? Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, facial expressions, non-“said” dialogue tags, or interjections? Have you removed them?
- Do you overuse certain words or phrases? Is your word choice perfect throughout?
- Does your book come to a completely satisfying conclusion? Does it feel rushed?
- Do your main characters emerge from the book irrevocably changed?
- Are your characters distinguishable? Does it make sense to combine minor characters? (Kiersten)
- Do each of your scenes make dramatic sense on their own as well as move the overall plot forward? (Pete Peterson)
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Art: Poor Artist’s Cupboard by Charles Bird King