A fellow blogger and I have been considering the different sorts of blogs you can write, the different subjects you might want to write about, and the different challenges with each… We found an article which gave a list of seventy-three – 73! – different ideas. We have decided to tackle them all; my friend is doing them at random, I am working my way through and today have come to checklists.
What is the difference between a list and a checklist… well, I guess they do overlap but apparently a list is just… well a list, usually of things (although it can also be a ‘to-do-list’) whereas a checklist is a list of things to do, possibly in a certain order, which can be ticked off as they are done (which can also be a to-do-list)
The idea is that you apply each of the blog suggestions to your own ‘industry or blog‘; so how would I apply the checklist principle to my writing…
I guess I would have to think of one particular aspect of my writing, so I am going to think about editing a completed piece, and in my case this would be a novel.
You have finished your novel – editing checklist:
- put your novel in a drawer (real or metaphorical) for at least a week
- if possible don’t do any other writing, if this is not possible make sure it is something which has absolutely no connection with THE NOVEL i.e. a sequel
- read it through, preferably in a different form from the way you saw it when you were writing it, e.g. on a Kindle, or as a hard copy; try not to interrupt your reading of it by making corrections – read it as a reader would
- when you have finished spend some time thinking about it, maybe make a few jottings of thoughts which occurred to you as you were reading, maybe under headings such as descriptions? locations? relationships? timings?
- run a spell-check
- spell-check again for consistency in names Sara/Sarah, Gabrielle/Gabriela
- weed out repeated words, ‘just’, ‘almost’, ‘even’ – and unusual words which you used once, loved, used again, then repeated – pellucid, lambent, adscititious, for example
- cut out all unnecessary words – less is so much, much more! Reducing your novel by a third can do wonders!
- start to read it through, correcting as you go – this maybe just small things or it maybe inconsistencies which need to be put right
- you may want to do a major re-write – it is sometimes advisable to continue reading through the whole thing to make sure you know exactly what you want to rewrite and what implications it would have on other parts of the novel
- work on your novel – it maybe the things you noted when you were reading it on your Kindle, it maybe the inconsistencies you want to tidy up, or it may be the rewrite
- If you have rewritten most or a lot of the novel, go back to number 1 on this checklist and start again
- think of aspects of your novel in chunks together – think about everything you have written about each character and their profile, each setting, each description
- optional – copy and paste into another document the story line for each character so you can read their part of the story sequentially
- read your novel again, changing and adjusting as you go
- read it again out loud to yourself
- read it backwards – not literally word for word, but chapter by chapter – this can throw up a lot of errors in sequencing and chronology
- if you have anyone who can read it for you this is a big help – if they are critical in a kindly but firm way. If you agree with their comments great, if you don’t you will have to defend your point of view and that argument will enable you to see whether their criticism might actually have been justified!
- run through the story-lines in your head from the different characters’ different points of view
- read it one last time…
Here is a link to my book, each of which has been through all of the above!!! The checklist on each has been well and truly checked!!: