Teagan Kearney/G.N. Kearney: Writer: THE CHECK LIST.


A final check should be tough, comprehensive and even extensive, but it shouldn’t take longer to complete than the book did to write.

I would have liked to take a break this week but I didn't and now have various lists of checks to make. In this final edit before sending off to my beta readers, I want to focus on making sure chapters, scenes and sentences do their jobs properly.

Spelling and grammar checks are so basic that I wondered whether to list them, but no list would be complete without them. For the most part my inner editor won’t let me get too far away from any word or phrase that has a red line underneath, so I correct these as I go along. 
Note to self: try to keep an extra eye open for sloppy syntax.

Chapter-wise, I’ve a list ready for beginnings and endings so I can see at a glance what is happening at these points.  I’m listing the chapter openings because I want to know I’ve a variety of locations and situations in place; I don’t want readers to know they’re back in strand A because so and so is waking up in bed – again. I want to look at chapter endings to check that each has a new conflict/question to persuade readers to keep going.

My next step is the one that is going to take time as I'm going to analyse how my scenes match up with Randy Ingerson’s ‘Writing a Perfect Scene’. This way of looking at scenes takes a little work but the end result makes for better structure and flow. If mine don’t match up, I'll definitely look at changing things around but if the original is better than the newly edited version - that will be the one that stays.

As far as sentences go, I must eradicate - on a genocidal scale - any adverb (think fighting a guerrilla action) which has managed to sneak its way into my writing.

I did ask a tutor once what was so wrong with adverbs. After all, they exist in our language, we use them when talking and why do we bother to learn about them in English lessons at school if we are never to use one? I think that if a verb is strong, won’t an adverb make it more powerful? Right now they’re ‘out’ but maybe one day using adverbs will again be acceptable.

But I digress – back to the check list. When it comes to sentences I wonder, because I’m so familiar with my work by now, if I can slow myself down, stop my eyes sliding along the lines and be critical enough. I’d like to think I have my eye open to check for strong verbs, interesting details, unnecessary sentences but question if only others will be able to see what works and doesn’t at this stage.

I know there's still work to be done (I'm picturing gladiatorial combat), so for now patience, and what I call, stickability, are the qualities I need to stay the course.

If anybody has any helpful tips about the revising process and how they deal with it, I’d love to hear what they are.

Today’s Haiku:
white pages wait for
black shapes to emerge, transform -
paint others’ stories

If you enjoy reading haiku, my book Gold Dragon Haiku is now available as an ebook at the Amazon Kindle Store.

Here’s the link:

Here’s the link to Randy Ingerson’s ‘Writing a Perfect Scene’. He has a website that is well worth a visit.

I keep forgetting to add this bit, but join me on my Twitter journey at:

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