Monday, January 28, 2013

The Power of Polish, Part 3 by Anita Higman

Hey everyone, Annette here. We have Anita Higman back with us today to finish her series on self-editing. To see the earlier posts, click here and here. I don't know about you, but this series is good timing for me as I'm currently editing one of my manuscripts. There are so many elements we fiction writers have to keep in mind, it's helpful to use checklists in the editing stage and who better to trust for said checklist than a multi-published writer? Happy (self-)editing, friends!

The Power of Polish, Part 3
by Anita Higman
  • When my character presents a potent line of dialogue, do I use it later to make an arc that is memorable and effective?
  • Do I have a sagging middle that’s in need of a few tummy tucks of story tension?
  • Did I succumb to the temptations of authorial intrusion?
  • Do my characters make gestures that reflect their personalities, and are those gestures fresh and unique? Or are my characters engaged in too much shrugging, sighing, lip chewing, nodding, brow furrowing, arm crossing, throat clearing and head shaking?
  • If I’ve added humor to my novel, does it fit the characters, and does it flow with the rest of the work?
  • Do the elements of faith happen naturally in the story, or did I toss in some prayer and Scripture to make it sound Christian?
  • Are the themes in my story memorable and effective?
  • Are the character’s thoughts interesting and necessary, or are they merely repeats of what the character is saying?
  • Do I have an overall story arc that is clear and memorable?
  • Did I create a satisfying ending, or is it too predictable and rushed because I’m tired of the story?
  • Have I read the work out loud to catch the errors that might be more obvious when heard rather than seen?
I hope these excerpts from the mini-version of my checklist are helpful in all your novel-polishing endeavors.

Texas Wildflowers anthology


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?

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

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  1. Wonderful reminders, Anita. I gotta remember to do the read-aloud. Thanks for a great post.

  2. Great checklists, thank you. I am pursuing a writing career, and these posts will certainly help as I revise my manuscripts. Thanks for sharing. God bless.



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