Hello everyone. Time for another Writer Tip Wednesday. Today we’re continuing our discussion of revisions.

Before you begin revising, make a checklist of what needs to be addressed.  Below is mine.

Finished MS. This is vital. It won’t do any good to start revisions if the MS isn’t completely written out. Too many issues can get overlooked without a full MS. Which means more work, and multiple extra revisions.

Notes for plot holes that jumped out. I make these notes during my read through. I don’t look for these, they find me.

Scene list. Helps keep track of the major events, and structure of the novel, also helps spot any possible plot holes, and weak scenes. This makes it easier to switch scenes around for optimum impact as well, and ensure each scene drives the story forward.

Character arc progression chart. Helps track character growth throughout the novel, so I can ensure there is character growth throughout the novel. Preferably in every scene.

Plot progression chart. So I can keep track of the changes and ensure all major points, and twists are reached at the optimal moment for the strongest impact.


No-no words list. Weak words, and passive words. I like to keep my writing dynamic, so these words will be eliminated whenever I find them, unless I can’t continue without them.

Feedback from critique partners. Positive and negative. Lets me know what does and doesn’t work as a general consensus. If it’s only brought up once, or by one person, I’ll consider it stylistic differences, but not go out of my way to change it. If it’s brought up by many people, obviously something isn’t working. Reviewing this list helps pinpoint what, or why.

List of what I feel needs addressed. Weak scenes that I will either strengthen, or cut, places that need description added, or lessened, places where tension needs increased, deeper POV, where sentences need tightened, pacing issues, ect. I make this list during my read through. Remember the “bloody red pen” is your friend, not your enemy. It hurts at first, but your MS is stronger afterward.

Editing notes. Grammar issues, word choice issues, sentence structures, and variations, typos, repetitious actions, or words, a list of how many times each word is used, ect.

Okay readers, sound off: Do you make a checklist? What kinds of things are on it? How thorough are you with the “bloody red pen” phase? How many revision rounds do you go through?

P.S. This article is featured in a writer’s/editor’s collaboration here.

About kittyb78

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung-Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style, and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon-lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing, especially Young Adult Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Favorite personal quote: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

38 responses »

  1. Hi Kitty,

    I do a lot of these with a large MS, but the smaller ones I don’t think need as much.

    Good luck with your book.

    • kittyb78 says:

      Hi Janice, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’ve never revised anything short yet. I have a short story I plan to revise later this year. Thank you. Good luck with your latest release. Feel free to return anytime. 🙂

  2. Eva Rieder says:

    I definitely make a checklist, and while I don’t use a red pen (mostly blue, green, or purple), I make a couple rounds through with revisions. A lot of these checklist items I haven’t used, but it’s a good list–thanks for sharing, Catrina!

    • kittyb78 says:

      Eva! Always a pleasure to have you stop by. I use red ink, because it reminds me of how teachers graded our papers. XD I try to be as thorough as I can so I only have to go through one revision, 🙂 I have an analytical mind so it works best for me this way. 🙂

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