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Reminder sheet (digest of the things you have to put into practice)
As you followed the latest articles, maybe you found strengths and weaknesses in your writings (maybe you were already aware of them). Even the best writers have their flaws and your goal will be to correct them in revisions. As Hemmingway said so well: « The first draft of anything is shit! ».
If you’re the kind to go less in length in your revisions than me, I don’t know if this page will be useful for you. It’s true that, by spending hours working on your text, you can lose the first draft’s freshness, but sometimes, it’s more than necessary.
It’s up to you to find what works for you and what you like, because it’s a very important but difficult step, especially if the new project you’re working on at the same time seems far more interesting than the one you have to rework on. If you don’t write to be published, the revision can be limited to an orthographic check.
If you have a reminder sheet so that you won’t forget anything you want to check for, you’ll save time.
I developed a checklist that I use for each scene during revision, with everything that I tended to forget – or, to the opposite, to overuse. Here is an excerpt:
- clearly identifying the point of view’s character from the beginning of the scene and every time it changes
- describing the place where the scene is happening if it changed from the last time
- avoiding the talking head syndrome (when people don’t do anything except talking so that they could as well be floating heads)
- taking off dialogues tags (“he shouted”, “he said”). It’s not about taking off every single them of them, but putting one into each sentence is useless and excessive).
I’ll come back to this later and, anyway, I’ve got two ebooks about checklists that I will present to you later.
There’s no need to do a fancy checklist or to decorate it, it’s for your eyes only. The simpler you keep it, the more you’ll want to use it. At least, that’s how I work and I noted that the quality of my writing was much better afterwards (and that revisions got much easier, too!).