Writer: The Only Editing Checklist You’ll Ever Need | Writer’s Relief


At Writers Relief, we know you ought to thoroughly modify your work before making submissions to literary journals or literary representatives. Numerous writers find the self-editing phase intimidating, but if you break your edits down into two main phases, it will be easier to clean up your manuscript and make it look professional.

A Comprehensive Editing Checklist For Writers

Stage One: Editing for Content

When youll work on line edits and respond to questions about grammar and design details, the polishing stage is.

Do the characters have clear arcs of development? No matter how clear and unique your characters are, theyll fail if they do not grow and find out over the course of the story. As youre dealing with your character development, consider what changes take place in between when the characters begin and completion of the story– and make certain its clear how they arrive!

Is the world-building airtight? Especially if youre composing sci-fi or dream, you require to create a world persuading enough to engage your audience.

Is the manuscript properly formatted? Make sure your work is formatted to releasing market requirements– this makes it a lot easier for editors and agents to check out. You desire your manuscript to look professional and clean so the reader can focus on the story, not on your wonky margins.

Are the paragraphs long and puzzling? Its essential to keep your sentences tight, but remember to take a look at the forest, not just the trees. If your sentences are brief and palatable however your paragraphs are long and rambling, your story will be too cumbersome to enjoy.

Together with using this list, keep in mind that reading more stories in your category is a clever– and enjoyable!– method to pick up self-editing tips. Once your manuscript remains in great shape, you can feel great making your submissions to literary representatives and editors

Is the language repetitive? Revealing the same idea several times merely increases your word count needlessly, and repeating yourself is a proven method to bore readers. Watch out for recurring writing– you most likely only need to make a point when to drive it house for your audience.

Are the characters names too comparable? If you have several characters whose names rhyme or start with the exact same letter, your readers might get confused and be unable to inform them apart. Nows the time to do it if you require to rename characters!

Phase Two: Polishing Your Work.

Are the characters voices unique? Every character must have a special, clear voice. From the cadence of each individuals speech to the vocabulary used, the method each character talks will make them stand out. This is particularly crucial for multi-POV works!

Even a terrific typist makes a few mistakes. Reading your manuscript aloud to yourself is another good way to catch typos and identify any uncomfortable phrases or sentences that need attention. You ought to likewise consider having someone else check your work.

Do emotional scenes resonate? While you wish to give psychological scenes the gravity they are worthy of, you also do not want to drive your story too far into the territory of melodrama. Writing emotional scenes is a challenging balance, however one thats vital to strike in the past considering your story “finished.”.

“Show, do not tell” can make the difference in between a story that captures your readers interest and one that makes their eyes glaze over. Focus on presenting details about your characters and settings in ways that engage the reader.

Exist too many run-on sentences? While run-on sentences can be beneficial for internal monologues, make sure theyre not too complicated– which youre not overusing them.

Is the setting fully established? The time and place in which your story is set can work as its own character. Make sure your descriptions are visceral and rich, grounding your characters and assisting your composing come alive for readers.

Are the characters inspirations clear? Finding the “why?” that drives your character is essential to making them appear three-dimensional. Determine what your characters want and how they attempt to attain those objectives.

Is the word count right for the genre? Lots of authors tend to overwrite in their initial drafts, then tighten the text when editing. Sharpen in on the action driving your story forward if you require to make cuts. For instance, if you have a number of paragraphs of long, stagnant intro before the action begins– go out your red pen and start deleting.


Are there a lot of clichés? While regional colloquialisms can lend color to a characters vocabulary, make certain you do not overuse clichés. A surplus of clichés, particularly in your narrative or your characters internal monologues, can distract readers throughout emotional scenes and exposes.

Material edits are dealt with by asking yourself bigger scale, developmental questions which will impact the strength of your work as a whole.

Concern: What do you believe is the most essential editing step?

Make sure your descriptions are visceral and abundant, grounding your characters and assisting your composing come alive for readers.

While local colloquialisms can provide color to a characters vocabulary, make sure you do not overuse clichés.

From the cadence of each persons speech to the vocabulary utilized, the way each character talks will make them stand out. No matter how clear and special your characters are, theyll fall flat if they do not discover and grow over the course of the story. As youre working on your character development, believe about what modifications take place in between when the characters start out and the end of the story– and make sure its clear how they get there!

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