Okay, so you have a draft. Probably your second or third. You’ve found your voice and point of view. You’ve wrestled with character motivation and stereotypes. You’ve checked off suspense and conflict, and now you’re ready for the final review:
1. Are the pages welcoming to the eye as you turn them, so that you don’t have long paragraphs, one after the other, of unbroken narrative?
2. Have you searched out repeated information that only needs to be mentioned once: “…the lake where he had spent many summers fishing and sailboat racing?”
3. In a long dialogue, he said, she said, have you replaced some of the saids with answered
or replied or called, etc.
4. Do all your dates and times and ages check out?
5. In a final read-through, are there any, any, phrases or sentences or paragraphs that you
could delete to move the story along?
6. Is there unity in the story—all the characters and scenes essential to the plot, all coming
around full circle?
7. Are the names of all characters different enough that the reader can easily tell them apart?
No Jerome and Jerrell; no Michelle and Melanie?
8. Have you avoided introducing a host of characters all at the same time?
9. If you have used any material from another author, have you given the proper credit?
10. Finally, read the manuscript aloud to yourself, page by page or chapter by chapter. Listen for the flow of the language. If anything breaks the rhythm, if any word jars, remove or replace.
Source: Phyllis Navlor