THE ABCs OF REVISION
© Pegi Deitz Shea
A is for Action. Wipe out the “wases” and use action verbs. Use active voice (subject is doing the action), instead of passive voice (subject is being acted upon).
B is for Beginning. Did you hook the reader with excitement? In fiction, begin with the story problem or “conflict.” In nonfiction, try a funny or unusual fact, a question, or an anecdote. Show the conflict with action or dialogue.
C is for Character. Do a separate mini “biography” before rewriting. Build a unique
identity by showing--not telling--emotions and thoughts. Make dialogue and interior monologue Consistent with Character.
D is for Description. Decorate nouns with specific, not general, adjectives. Embellish actions and nouns with simile and metaphor.
E is for Edit. Cut adverbs and write better action verbs. In fiction, cut words and sentences that don’t move your story. No saggy middles! In nonfiction, cut sentences that don’t prove your point. No detours! Can you cut two words from every sentence?
F is for Finish. In fiction, does the most exciting part (climax) happen near the end? Do you show the result and the main character’s feelings about it, i.e. resolution) In nonfiction, does your finish sum up the most important point? Or does it challenge readers to think or act differently?
G is for Grammar. Check commas and end punctuation. Check verb agreement and verb tense. Do you have complete and separate paragraphs? Is every word spelled and used correctly?