editing your work

An Editing Checklist

So, you’ve written a short story to share or enter in a contest. Before you hit send, use this quick checklist for editing your work to make sure your story is as good as it can be.

1. Does your story jump straight into action? A weak beginning will not grab a reader’s attention. Skip unnecessary setup and get to the action. You can weave information in as needed throughout the story.

2. Read it out loud. You may feel silly, but your ears can catch far more than your eyes when it comes to grammatical mistakes.

3. Run a quick search for weak words or words that you tend to overuse. I personally search for that, and, just, and the suffix ly. Evaluate each usage and determine if it needs to go or deserves to stay.

4. Search for filter words such as see, think, wondered, knew, seemed, heard. Filter words create distance between the reader and the action in your story.

5. Does your story have a beginning, a middle, and an ending? Your beginning needs to hook readers, your middle needs to include some form of conflict, and your ending needs to provide resolution.

Short stories are fun to write, and fun to read if they are done well. Good luck in your writing.

Kim Vernon
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