- Does your opening involve a person experiencing an event? If not, do you have such a scene elsewhere that would be a better opening?
- Is there something visual on each page, something for the reader to imagine?
- In an article, does the action build to a climax or make point after point on a plateau?
- In a book, does the end of each chapter point toward the next?
- Have you summarized material that could make interesting scenes?
- Have you raised questions and then delayed answering them to create suspense?
- Does the piece reverberate with other times, other places, or other people?
- Have you consciously tried to create stress in your reader?
- Could the weakest segment of the piece be cut or condensed?
- Have you eliminated most adjectives, adverbs, and repetitive phrases?
- Have you cut all clichés? “Say it new or say it straight.”
- Have you replaced similes and metaphors that are tired or strained?
- Have you padded the piece with description?
- Have you used fiction techniques to characterize the people you mention?
- Can you convert any sentence to a question to arouse curiosity?
- Have you used short sentences and small paragraphs to create a fast pace?
Adapted from Stein on Writing by Sol Stein.
Posted by Toby Fesler Heathcotte
Amazon Ms. Toby Fesler Heathcotte