Sunday, December 19, 2021

Things to look for whilst editing your story


You've finished your novel, and now comes the dreaded part... the editing.

Here are some of the things to look out for (not in any particular order)... I'll add links where I touched upon the subject, or found a better explanation elsewhere.

This list is far from complete. If you have something important to add, drop me a line!

- Grammar mistakes

- False friends (if you're a non-native speaker you know what I mean)

- Punctuation

- Dialogue tags vs action beats (punctuation, actually, but okay)

- Clarity on dialogue (who is speaking)

- Movement during dialogue (if the dialogue is more important, then remove everything that isn't necessary for that dialogue)

- Run-on sentences (overly long sentences with endless sections separated by commas)

- Show versus tell

- I-this I-that (in first-person stories, starting too many sentences and paragraphs with I)

- Purple prose (unless you like it)

- Remove unnecessary words (streamline your novel)

- Inconsistent descriptions (for example, one page blue eyes, next page green)

- Speech patterns (if your characters have specific speech patterns)

- Plot holes (closely related to logic)

- Logic mistakes

- Rule-breaks (if your universe follows certain rules, then did you break them?)

- Out-of-character actions (do characters act odd?)

- False knowledge (do the characters do or say things based on knowledge they cannot have at that stage, i.e. can know, can do)

- Characters pulling a Houdini (important in one part of the story, and then suddenly disappear, never to be mentioned again)

- Repetitions (like six time the same word in two paragraphs, things like that) 

- Flow (difficult one, but does the text read smoothly, or does it falter? try to read it out aloud)

- Pace (are some parts overly slow or too fast?)

... and finally, the one million dollar question:

- What does the reader think and feel when he / she reads your work?


I use a TTS tool to assist me in finding and fixing problems.

In other words, I have the computer read out the text aloud to me, whilst I read it out myself. That way I force myself to go slowly through a re-read. It's very time consuming, but it immensely improved my writing that way. Which is still pretty bad, but hey, it would have been worse otherwise 🙂

Look here for more Writing Essentials.

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