- Do you show more than tell? Do you create a balance between scenes and narrative that is enjoyable to read?
- Do you display characters’ emotions through action and dialogue rather than describe them in words such as angry or sullen?
- Do you introduce characters with a few imaginative details rather than a character summary?
- Do you establish characters thru action, interior monologue, and dialogue rather than describe them?
- Do you use back story sparingly, introducing it only when needed?
- Do you introduce setting with imaginative details, a bit at a time?
- Which point of view are you using and why? Is it consistent?
- Do you use interior monologue to show your characters’ thoughts and feelings? Do you avoid the words “he thought” and use italics sparingly in the I point of view?
- Is your narrative proportional, spending time on the most important elements?
- Does your dialogue sound natural when you read it aloud? Have you used word choice, cadence, and grammar to reflect dialect?
- Have you eliminated all “ly” words and paragraphs opening with a speaker attribution?
- Do you use “said” to clarify who is speaking or a beat of action to attribute dialogue to characters rather than unnecessary attributions, such as he snapped or she chuckled?
- Have you used ellipses for gaps and dashes for interruptions?
- Do you use beats between dialogue to illuminate character and make it unique?
- Do you vary the length of your paragraphs, your scenes, your chapters for variety and flow?
- Is your manuscript free of repetitions of phrases, ideas, and actions?
- Have you minimized “as” and “ing” constructions, clichés, explicit sex scenes, profanity?
- Have you used good grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation?
Adapted from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne and Dave King
Posted by Toby Fesler Heathcotte
Amazon Ms. Toby Fesler Heathcotte