Top Ten Little Things to Edit Away
Here’s a list of small things to pay attention to when editing your Work in Progress (WIP).
1. Do you have any ticks? I seem to like the words but and just a lot! What words do you overuse? A neat way to find out is to take a chapter of your WIP and copy it to Wordle. Wordle.net will take your text and make a word cloud of it. The size of the word correlates to the frequency of its use.
2. Examine your minor characters. What makes them stand out as the unique individuals that they are?
3. Check your chapters for sensory description. Have you used all five senses at least once per chapter?
4. Does your main character, antagonist, sidekick have any nuance? If so, do they carry it through the whole story? Or do you throw it in heavily in one area then forget about it?
5. Try writing a scene that still gives you trouble from a different point of view. If your story is written from first person, write the scene in third person omniscient so you can get a broader perspective of what’s going on. If it’s written in third person, switch to first person. Get inside your character’s head and understand what they are thinking and feeling.
6. Try to reduce word count by 10%. Ya, that’s a tough one!
7. If your not sure about the direction your story is going, try making a what-if tree. Kind of like a family tree, but instead of people, give each event 2 or 3 possible outcomes. For each outcome, give 2 or 3 new situations. Go crazy and push your brain.
8. Check settings. Is the setting clear in each chapter. When you shift settings, what does your character notice there?
9. Write out the major character traits you have for each of your main characters (protagonist, antagonist, sidekick). Do they stay true to the core of who they are throughout? If not, are any changes justifiable and believable?
10. Dialogue: Can you take out the dialogue tags and tell who the speaker is? If not, fix it. There’s very little room for neutral lines. (Like “Ya, I know).
What is missing from this list? Write a comment and share your wisdom!