8 common areas to focus on when editing my WIP + a Printable

I’ve just completed the full read-through of my 80,000+ word draft. I decided NOT to edit as I read, but rather took hand written, chapter by chapter notes. A number of themes arose as I read back through each of my chapter notes. I thought it best to summarise these in bullet points so that I could print them out and keep them somewhere prominent when I do my editing.

At the moment, that somewhere prominent is on the ‘stickies’ app on my Mac – this way my notes can always travel with me. But I also like to have a print out to pin to my desk for easy reference.

Instead of focusing on the details unique to my WIP, I thought it would be more useful to others to make these generic, and to put them in a fun printable for anyone else who might struggle with these same areas!

These are the things I most often skim over, or perhaps don’t pay enough attention to when I’m head down and writing fast:

  1. SHOW don’t tell!
  2. Similes need to be appropriate to the text.
  3. Needs more inner monologue / emotions.
  4. Read dialogue aloud – does it sound authentic?
  5. The actions don’t suit the characters. They’re too generic or they all feel like the same person.
  6. The word choices aren’t appropriate to time / genre / character.
  7. Misnomers in the timelines and small details are inaccurate or inconsistent.
  8. Too many repetitive words.

Do any of these sounds familiar to you? If so, feel free to print out this poster and hang it somewhere easily visible (preferably your writing desk and not the back of the toilet door.)

Would it be useful if I showed you an excerpt of my WIP where these problems exist for me? Please let me know in the comments below.

printable tips for reviewing your manuscript

Click here to download the printable.


8 thoughts on “8 common areas to focus on when editing my WIP + a Printable

  1. angepickett says:

    Thanks for sharing Kirsty. I haven’t read back over any of the 50,000 words I’ve written so far – I suspect if I did, I’d just delete the file. I’ll definitely print the poster out and I would love to see an excerpt of your WIP – happy to buy you a tea/coffee/wine in return!


    • Kirsty Dummin says:

      Oh, I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think. There will definitely be some areas you can work with, I’m sure of it.

      It’s ridiculous that we live in the same area and haven’t met yet, Ange. We should rectify this! I’ll work on an excerpt post maybe for next week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mariemclean says:

    Thanks Kirsty. I’ve seen your graphic appear on Social Media in the last couple of days and was happy to see it appear here in a blog post (I clicked your download link and emailed it myself for use later.) I’m still ploughing through a major rewrite and trying not to over-edit, so this will be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Simone says:

    This is awesome. I love the point about making sure that the actions suit the character/not writing all characters the same. Definitely something that would be picked up during editing, rather than during the first drafts. I assume anyway 😉


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