“The only people who see the whole picture are those who step out of the frame.” ~~Salman Rushdie
Twenty-Five Non-Grammatical Issues To Consider When Editing Your Work
- Are the characters 3-dimensional?
- What do your principal characters want?
- Do they want more than one thing?
- What are they doing to get what they want?
- What is in their way?
- When they achieve a goal does another one pop up immediately?
- Will readers identify with the protagonist? If not, who will they identify with?
- Is the plot or action believable?
- Do the conflicts intensify?
- What is the setting?
- Have you (the author) overwritten or underwritten the setting?
- Is the setting evocative?
- Does the story seem fresh?
- Does the opening draw readers in?
- Does the pace work?
- Does it escalate as the story ends?
- Is the point of view consistent?
- Are transitions clear?
- Does every sentence relate to the story?
- Would some be better saved for a different story?
- Is the ending a discovery or realization –or does it seem predictable?
- Have you read the story out loud?
- Have you asked a trusted writing partner to read the story to you?
- When someone else reads the story to you, is there any place where she stumbles?
- Will this story and its characters stay with readers?
If you are submitting your work, please remember that editors are busy people. You need to grab and hold them from the start. Make your story unique but not bizarre, unless bizarre is what you are going for.
Look at the past interviews here on Writer Advice and find out what tips the authors I interview are getting from their editors.
If you’d like to submit your own tips, I’d love to read them. Maybe I’ll ask your permission to publish them.
Additional Advice From the Experts
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” Martin Luther
“Give yourself permission to do a shitty first draft.” –Anne Lamott
“Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.” Melinda Haynes
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” ― Octavia E. Butler
“You go where the story leads you.” Stephen King
The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense. Tom Clancy
“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.” Zadie Smith
“A writer is someone who writes.” Pat Schneider
“You must be unintimidated by your own thoughts because if you write with someone looking over you shoulder, you’ll never write.” ― Nikki Giovanni
“The only people who see the whole picture are those who step out of the frame.” Salman Rushdie