Monday, June 29, 2009

A Rewrite Checklist, CRAFT

It’s always good to have a checklist at hand when you are ready to rewrite your story. Below are a number of questions you can ask yourself.

As you learn your weaknesses as a writer, this list can be changed to include questions that focus on your problem areas.

This list is also a good start for critique partners.

Do I have a hook in the first few, or better yet, the first page?
Have I shown the main character’s goal, short-term, or better yet, for the whole novel?

Does this chapter advance the story?
Tell more about the characters?
Give plot information?
Does it work with the chapter before it?

Do the characters and plot work well together, or is the plot
just pasted on?
Does it make sense?
Does one thing lead to another?
Has the story started at the right place?
Does the action escalate?
Are more plot questions asked before a plot question is resolved?
Does the plot fit genre boundaries?

Does each character sound different? Do they have
a voice of their own?
Are the characters doing what they as characters and
personalities should be doing, or are they being
moved around for my convenience?
Will the reader understand why they are doing certain things?
Does each major character have a strength and a weakness
which will be affected by the plot?
In the romantic relationship, is their emotional conflict strong enough
for the length of the work? Will it take more than one long
talk to resolve their conflict? Does their romantic relationship
work with the action plot?
In the action plot, is the conflict between the hero and his opponent
strong enough? Is the opponent strong enough to really push
the hero to his limits?

Is the proper point of view maintained in each scene?
Would a scene work better from another character's viewpoint?
Is there only one viewpoint character in each scene?

Does this interior monologue slow the scene too much?
Could this information or emotion be expressed in dialogue or action?
Am I telling too much?

Do the sentences vary in length?
Does the language fit the actions?
Long sentences for leisurely, more introspective moments?
Short, terse sentences and words for action scenes?

Am I intruding, or am I invisible so the story can tell itself?
Does cause and effect happen correctly?
Am I showing rather than telling?

Is the worldbuilding well thought out?
Is it logical?
Did I break my own rules?
If a myth or fantasy element is changed
from common knowledge, is it a logical or
understandable change? Is it explained?
(a vampire who can survive daylight, for example)



I'm teaching two writing workshops in July.

“Keeping the Reader Reading the First Chapter”

Drawing a reader into the first chapter of your novel is more than an exciting beginning, more than a “cute meet,” more than a sexy hero and a feisty heroine. Step by step, I'll show you the craft needed to draw the reader into your novel and make her eager to keep reading.

To learn more and register, go here:

“Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal World”

Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your novel, they will be to your reader.

Marilynn Byerly, lauded by reviewers for "building a world that combines both integrity and depth in an entertaining way," shows you how to develop a fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal world from to invent creatures to populate it...and how to make your novel utterly believable. She'll teach you the ins and outs of research, fresh ways to use creatures like vampires, and the means to avoid various traps many authors have fallen into.

To learn more and register, go here:

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