Let’s face it writing is easy, editing is hard. Constant revisions are even harder. Here are some tips to help you through the hell that is revising.

  1. Print it out and read it. You can find things easier on a paper copy than you can on the computer screen.
  2. Read it both silently and out loud.
  3. Read all the way through once first.
  4. Make a checklist of what to watch out for when you are editing. It might also help if you try to keep track of your common writing mistakes.
  5. Proofread one type of mistake at a time. This will make it less likely that you will miss anything.
  6. Kill any unnecessary adverbs.
  7. Eliminate the word “that.” It usually adds unnecessary bulkiness to your sentences.
  8. Use Word’s find feature to identify and eliminate the “there are,” “there is,” and “to be” sentences and phrases. (you can also use it to find “that”)
  9. Check your facts (and words). Make sure everything is correct and means what you think it means. Some people (including editors and agents) can be real sticklers and there is no sense in offending someone if you don’t have to.
  10. Use spell and grammar check, but don’t depend on them. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times it has caught something I have missed, or the amount of times it wanted to change something that was correct.
  11. Read in reverse to help check spelling.
  12. Reread the whole thing one last time after you think you are done editing.