Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Editing List

So, I've been editing this month and it has been taxing on my brain to say the least. Over the summer I showed my dad my "Editing Folder." Literally a manila folder I carry around when I edit. If I have a chapter or pages that I must print out to look at I will toss them in. That, however, is not its main purpose.

I write all kinds of notes to myself on it. What to look for, delete, and so on. My dad said I needed to take a picture of it in case I ever lose it. The horror of the idea of losing it nearly struck me dead. lol

I thought I would share those notes with you today and link to where I found most of them. Unfortunately, I didn't write down where I got some of the information from, so I don't have all the links.

I do a search when I have finished editing each chapter. Sometimes I am able to delete a word and fix the issue in one simple step. Other times I must reword the entire sentence. Occasionally I find deleting a sentence here or there makes the piece better.

Courtesy of
Plot: (All from Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass) 
  • How could things get worse? 
  • When would be the worst moment for them to get worse? 
  • Public Stakes! 
  • Personal Stakes! 
  • Emotional danger
  • Choices (a) suffering & (b) sacrifice

Character: (From
  • "Could I develop this character more, to make him or her more complicated?"
  • "How could this secondary character to be causing problems for my main character?"
  • "If the character is already causing problems, could they be even worse?"

Delete These Words: (These are my overused words, or implied words, or filler words I use often)

that, just, seem, like, really, feel, start, already, felt, very, still, up, down, over, but

  • Who is speaking? 
  • Do they sound convincing? 
  • Are they in character? 

Tension: (In each chapter)
  • Story tension? 
  • Romantic tension? 
  • Inner tension?
Words that can be axed!!! (Rachelle Gardner)

about, actually, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were

Passive Voice: (The Other Side of the Story - Janice Hardy - If you don't follow her, I highly recommend doing so.)

was, saw, heard, felt, knew, watched, decided, noticed, realized, wondered, thought, looked, is, am, are, were, has, have, had, being, been

Telling words: (The Other Side of the Story - Janice Hardy)

time (unless important), to see, to hear, could tell, to watch, to decide, to notice, to realize, to wonder, to think, to look,

Your Turn -> Do you have an editing list?


  1. Interesting, Heather! Thanks for sharing :D I´m starting to have a list...which I will use for my next novel. I built it with ONE TWO THREE, and I know those are things to watch for as I edit my next novel (the one I´m focusing on during NaNo :D)

    1. You're welcome! I created this as I wrote and edited Barely There. :-) Good luck with your NaNo project!