More on Self-Editing, by Susan Tuttle

Monitor the pacing. Does the story lag, or go too fast in places?

Is there balanced variation in short and long sentences? Does the story flow easily? 

Who is the narrator/narrators? Is each narrator's voice consistent?

Check for unintentional changes  in POV. They can be subtle but pull the reader out of the flow.


Setting: Is it described vividly enough to be pictured clearly? Is it consistent throughout? How does it affect the characters?

Are all five senses included in each scene? Can the reader taste, smell, see, hear, and feel the setting, or are visuals only given?

Watch for info dumps--these are usually back story that may or mau not be important to the immediate story. At any point in the story are there other ways to weave back story in?

Watch for purple prose--overdone descriptions written for the sake of writing that don't move the story along. 

Watch for repeated ideas and images.

Is there enough suspense to keep the reader turning pages? Or is there too much?

Do the chapters end on mini-cliffhangers?

Are the protagonist and antagonist interesting and sympathetic enough to engage the reader?

Does the first sentence/paragraph grab the reader?

Is there a better or shorter way to say the same thing? Are there better word choices? More vivid phrasing? More effective descriptions? More creative plot twists?

Is the tone consistent throughout the work>

Taking the time to self-edit will lift your work above a lot of other manuscripts and editor or agent may consider--plus you'll get a larger reading audience.

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