Monday, January 21, 2013

The Power of Polish, Part 2 by Anita Higman

Anita Higman
Hey everyone, Annette here. Last week Anita Higman visited to share part one of her self-editing checklist. She's back with more items and will finish her series next week. Happy editing!

The Power of Polish, Part 2
by Anita Higman

  • Are my heroine and hero relatable and likable? Do they have enough noble and endearing qualities—along with their flaws—to make readers want to cheer them on?
  • Will readers know the year, the season, and the time of day easily, or are these story elements too vague?
  • Does my timeline have inconsistencies?
  • Did I vary the length of sentences in my paragraphs so they’re eye-appealing and easy to read? Are my paragraphs so long they’re like a wall of words in need of mental climbing gear?
  • How is my pacing? Is there a good rhythm to my storytelling? Are there passages I need to slow down or speed up for effect?
  • Do I have too many summary paragraphs? Do some segments need to be revised so I’m showing and not telling?
  • Does my work have the fine brushstrokes of subtext dialogue?  
  • If I’ve written in first person does it look like there was an “I” explosion all over the manuscript?
  • If the professions and hobbies of the main characters are important to the story will the readers get a good look into this part of their lives? Was this material presented in a way that is organic to the story, and did I check the information for accuracy?
  • Is my dialogue realistic and interesting or mind-numbingly boring?
  • Do my characters have occasional and natural interruptions in their speech without being confusing?
  • Have I taken out unnecessary words, such as some, began to, just, rather, and all at once?
  • Does every scene have some element of suspense or conflict or intrigue?
  • Is each and every scene important to the overall plot, or have I padded the novel to up my word count?
  • Are some of my chapters too long?
  • Do all my chapters end with cliffhangers?
Again, take your time on this list. The extra effort you're expending will strengthen your manuscript. We're almost there. Next week we'll finish the list.


CBA bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Her latest books are A Merry Little Christmas (Guideposts/Summerside Press) and Where God Finds You (Standard Publishing). Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and making brunch for her friends. Please visit her online at

Texas Wildflowers

Romance is in full bloom for four McBride sisters living in Texas. A jilted Rosy goes home to Galveston to nurture her broken heart. Will she find the courage to love again? Lily has just opened a Christian counseling business. Will an eccentric client cause her to break the most solemn of vows? Violet runs a business that shows people how to live romantically. Will a quirky geek teach her the real meaning of love? Heather’s perfectly planned life has just come undone. Will an unexpected date give her the courage to let go—in life and love? 

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