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Friday, December 10, 2010

Scribe, Take Up Thy Pen and Take Heed

The worst part of the writing process (for me, anyway) is revision and editing. To make things a little easier, I created a checklist to go through; a "Revision Bible," of sorts. It's the sort of thing I recommend all writers to have.

The first part of my Revision Bible is a checklist of common writer's mistakes. You can find these through Google searches, writing websites, Writer's Digest, etc. Here's a good example:

"Writerisms and Other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing."

Start making yourself a personal CliffsNotes® version of the tips and recommendations from these articles.

The second part of the Revision Bible gets personal. As you write more, you'll begin to notice there are certain words you misspell regularly, certain words you overuse, etc. Start collecting them. Part two of your Revision Bible should contain your personal writing foibles and quirks: your commonly misspelled words, your overused words, your too-oft repeated character mannerisms, etc. The second part of my Revision Bible contains things like my love of the word "that," the fact that my characters seem to shrug every three seconds, and my chronic misspelling of the word desperate (I even spelled it wrong when I first did this post).

This will, of course, be a dynamic document. You'll always find new things to add, whether it's tips from new articles or your own ever-changing quirks (you will eventually outgrow your current foibles, but don't worry . . . new foibles will step into their place. I guarantee it). But with your own personal Revision Bible in hand, you'll at least have a guide to make the revision process a little less overwhelming. And more effective!

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