I designed this editing checklist to help you break down the steps of polishing your manuscript mess, or if you wish, to send to beta readers to give them some ideas of what to look out for.
It’s particularly helpful if you keep a running list of words / phrases that you frequently misuse, misspell or repeat, so that you can refer back to them each time you start the final edits of a manuscript.
Editing can be a long process… often it takes longer than writing!
But if you deal with problems one step at a time, you will make steady progress, and soon your story will be ready to share with the world.
Editing Checklist Items
- Weak opening
- Weak ending
- Lack of story development
- Lack of character development
- Lack of world development
- Too much information
- Missing or insufficient information
- Pacing problems – too slow
- Pacing problems – too fast
- Illogical / unconvincing behaviour
- Lack of character motivation
- Confusing description of action
- Confusing description of thoughts / emotions
- Confusing description of setting
- Timeline errors / anachronisms
- World / setting errors
- Inconsistencies in character appearance
- Unresolved plot threads
- Unnecessary repetition of words or phrases
- Misspelt words or phrases
- Repetitive sentence length
- Repetitive sentence structure
- Unclear sentences / passages
- Inconsistencies in tense
- Ambiguous pronouns
- Inconsistencies in use of names and titles
- Ambiguous dialogue tags
- Inconsistencies in formatting dialogue
- Inconsistencies in formatting thoughts
- Inconsistencies in capitalisation
- Missing sections
- Inconsistencies in voice and tone
- Inconsistencies in settings
- Inconsistencies in point of view
- Awkward sentences
- Misused words
Don’t forget to add your own errors as they occur in your manuscript.
P.S. You can use the dialogue worksheet for a more detailed audit of your characters’ conversations.