Categorized | Gwyneth's Blog

Self-Editing Checklist

Here’s a checklist I used to edit my writing, after getting the basic story down. I revisited the finished skeleton of the novel and layered it with the flesh of each item on the checklist, until it was a living, breathing entity – that hopefully doesn’t look anything like Frankenstein…

  • Show not Tell, Action not Explanation
  • Use the five senses
  • Use Props
  • One viewpoint per scene
  • Suspense at end of scene/chapter
  • Leak information gradually
  • Create living people in real world through senses
  • Tension/Conflict between characters, within a character
  • Create atmosphere, emotions
  • Develop believable, consistent characters
  • Musical flow
  • Write a strong lead
  • Use short, dense, familiar words
  • Use active and strong verbs
  • Use specific nouns
  • Use figures of speech (simile, metaphor, hyperbole, understatement, personification)
  • Avoid narrative summary where nothing happening in real time

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Bledsoe is a published poet and photographer. DEATH BEFORE BREAKFAST is her debut novel.