An Editing Checklist

Posted November 24, 2014 by Briana in Uncategorized / 3 Comments

An Editing Checklist -- Consult this list next time you edit your writing. |

One of my Twitter followers requested a post about editing. I thought I’d write one in the form of a
checklist so that you can print it out and tape it to the wall next to your desk or writing space.

These are some things I look for whenever I’m editing. If you’d like a more in-depth series on any of these points, please let me know. Hope it helps!

  • Wrong words e.g. there/their/they’re and to/too/two
  • Improper capitalization
  • Adverbs (just cut them already!)
  • Verb tense shifts
  • Lack of parallel structure
  • Sentences that start with “there are” (you can make them stronger, I promise)
  • Unnecessary commas and comma splices
  • Run-on sentences
  • Quotation marks for emphasis (NO)
  • Spelling errors – use a spell checker, but also confirm the errors with your human brain
I know this post was short, but when it comes to editing, these items comprise the tip of the iceberg. Another point worth noting: as you edit your work, you’ll see patterns in the mistakes you’re making. Awareness of your issues is the first step on the path to correcting them. Over time, you’ll improve in your editing areas. Like everything else, it just takes practice.
What items are on your editing checklist? Which of these points would you like clarified?

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3 responses to “An Editing Checklist

  1. Rae Oestreich

    PARALLEL STRUCTURE. Thank you for mentioning that. I feel like it’s something that a lot of people take for granted. Everything just looks and sounds so much prettier with it.