Easy Editing & Revising Tips
Whether you are writing an article, a novel, or an essay for school, it is always a good idea to keep a list of editing and revising reminders on hand. Even the most practiced writer can make simple mistakes. I find myself slipping into the same puddle over and over, so I created a list of editing and revising tips that keep me on track.
Stacie's Short Story Editing/Revising List
Are any words used over and over again to the point where they take away from my story?
Is there anything that can be cut out without taking away from the story? Delete unnecessary words.
Have you checked for clichés?
Have you told enough about the characters in your stories for your readers to be able to see and understand them?
Check subject matter for: Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How
Is there anything general that can be specific? (flowers→daisies) Give concrete details.
Read aloud, how does it sound?
Check for comma splices.
Underline all sentences with AND—does it work? Can it be changed?
Check for sentence variety. Avoid repetition.
Are certain words repeated needlessly?
Print out, mark up, and retype.
Are all the senses (sound, sight, etc.) incorporated into my descriptions?
Everyone's list of reminders will be different because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. For example, I have a tendency to repeat myself--thus, I repetitively remind myself to check for repetitiveness. Once you identify the common mistakes you make, create your own list. I keep my copy posted next to my computer as a constant reminder.
Quick Reminders Everyone Can Use:
- Spell Check (so simple to do, but easy to forget for some)
- Print & Reread (different things pop out at you from paper than from the computer screen)
- Read Aloud (your ears might pick something up your eyes didn't)
- Rest Before Revision (sometimes you need to distance yourself from your work before you can revise, so let it sit for a few days, weeks, or months before working on it again)
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Please feel free to share your own tips and reminders. You never know, it might help someone else with their own revision and editing.
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