Checklist for the Second Revision

When you’ve done that first re-write and you’re ready for the second, Jessica Page Morrell suggests you do these things:

1.  check to see if the story moves fast enough to hold the reader’s interest.

2.  can summary sections become scenes or scenes become summary?

3. do you need to add foreshadowing so that later events have credibility and resonance?

4.  do you need to tighten and amp up conflict and emotion in dialogue?

5.  does the reader understand how much time has elapsed since the last scene?

6.  are transitions clear but not obtrusive?

7.  do you need to trim flashbacks and transitions and omit digressions?

8.  do you need to trim subplots?

9.  does each scene have setting details?

10.  are your secondary characters described briefly, and do they cause things to happen in the story?

11.  do some scenes end with cliff-hangers or other devices that push the story forward?

12.  does each scene raise the stakes?

13. does each scene have a mission along with a beginning, middle, and end?

14.  are your characters consistent?

15.  are there are series of unanswered questions embedded throughout?

16. what is the proportion of inner thoughts to the whole?  Can you trim these sections?

17.  does the dialogue match the character’s vocabulary, intelleigence, emotions, and knowledge in the scene?

18.  is there subtext in some of the dialogue or is it mostly “on the nose” dialogue?

19.  do you sometimes incorporate sequels to important or emotional scenes?

20. can the sequels be trimmed or elminated?

21.  are physical and emotional injuries to characters carried through?

pg. 277-279

Tomorrow we’ll review Morrell’s advice for copyediting your manuscript–

One thought on “Checklist for the Second Revision

  1. This is a really good checklist. Oh if only I could get to a first revision, let alone a second one. But, I guess you have to have a completed draft first! I had to write an opening statement for mediation school on Tuesday night, and I clocked that I CAN (i.e. am physically capable of) writing 537 words in about 30 minutes. This made me feel hopeful about November. 9 days to go: NANOWRIMO here we come!!!


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