12 Days of Revision – Day 12

12 Days of Revision

  1. Search the document for overused filler words like just, should, Once, I used the word shrugged 117 times. 
  1. Search the document and double-check your their, there, you’re, your, where, were.
  1. Does the first scene deliver your story promise?
  1. Are all of these characters necessary? 
  1. Write out all of the letters of the alphabet. Then, write down all of the names of your characters and places. Are you reusing the same first letter all of the time? This can be confusing for readers. 
  1. Check for “he started running” and “she began yelling.” Change these phrases to “he ran” and “she yelled.” 
  1. If nothing significant to the story happens on Sunday, we don’t need to read about what your main character does on Sunday. Skip ahead to the next big moment. 
  2. Have you used all five senses in this story? What does a walk down the main character’s street sound like? When it’s French toast day, do their clothes smell like maple syrup all day and make them grumpy? 
  3. Be careful about using slang. It could make your book sound outdated. 
  4. Does each chapter finish with a moment that makes it irresistible to turn the page? 
  5. If you’re writing historical fiction, watch for anachronisms. I once had to tell a critique partner that people couldn’t go to Wendy’s in the early 1960s. 
  6. Nonfiction can be unbelievable, but fiction must be believable. Make sure your characters’ actions and motives feel absolutely logical and rational within the context of your story, and connected to their goals and desires. Otherwise, you lose the reader.