Critique Group

Novel Editing Tips

In Craft, Dawn Allen on September 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

~ Stephen King

Our critique group compiled a list of editing tips that we have used when revising our own novels over the years. It’s a work in progress which we constantly tweak and seek to improve. Check it out and see if it works for you and your writing.

Editing Tips – Quick List

  • Does the beginning hook the reader?
  • Does the setting give reader a sense of place? Is it too much or too little?
  • Is the point of view consistent?
  • Characterization: Are the characters interesting? Are they believable?  Do they have flaws? Do their motives seem real and push the story? Are they stereotypes or too one-dimensional? Are the names a good fit? Do the character’s dialogue and actions fit them? Do the setting and the characters’ personalities fit? Are physical characteristics introduced well? Do the readers spend too much time in the POV character’s head?
  • Is the dialogue engaging? Believable? Is internal dialogue passing for emotions or plot?
  • Did  the tension (conflict) in the plot (and any subplots) come to a reasonable conclusion? Was there anything that left the reader unsure of how or what happened?
  • Is there a good balance of action, narration, and dialogue?
  • Is the tone appropriate for the  age and gender of the POV character? Is the tone fitting for the type of story being told?
  • Does sentence structure accurately convey intent of scene?
  • Check for excessive passive voice.
  • Are the transitions between scenes and POVs smooth?  Do they enhance the tension?
  • Are the scenes/chapters in a logical order?
  • Check for overuse of pet words and phrases

We have a more in-depth version, but this shorter checklist is easiest to use. Pull out that manuscript and start checking for transitions and passive voice. 🙂DawnAllenSig


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