As I’ve talked about here for what seems like the last 5,000 years, I’m revising my WIP. I’m making pretty good progress, too. My methodology is simple: as I wrote the first draft, I put bullet points into my outline to highlight problems I discovered, things I should check, issues I wanted to be sure I added. These bullet points were both major and minor (“write new ending,” “is the midpoint emotional enough,” and “make sure hero asks for the favor on p. 42”). At its longest, my bullet point list was about a page and a third of items to investigate and resolve.
Now that I’m revising, I check to see that I’m satisfied with the language—the word choices and the sentence flow. And I also look against my bullet list and delete the bullets as I resolve the issues. All the bullet points but two are deleted now, and I’m about halfway through the first edit pass.
So today when I got Chuck Wendig’s post in my mailbox, I was pleased to read his “stupid writer tricks.” In the Chuck Wendig world of work, stupid writer tricks are best practices for keeping your manuscript on track. I found them a refreshing refresher, so to speak, as I revise. One of his bullet points: Does my character have agency? Another: Why will this book engage others? Another: Be on a quest to tighten. And of course, the best one: After today’s writing, ask: where are my pants?
All his bullet points are spot on. You can read his list of stupid writer tricks on his web site.