Skip to main content

A Handy Checklist to Help You Edit Your Writing

This excerpt from The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith Jr., explores the common mistakes that writers make--and how to avoid them. Refer to this checklist when you're ready to submit your manuscript to an agent or editor.

11038-Wrt-Helper.gif

Amateur and Common Mistakes

Before you send your manuscript or writing sample to an agent or editor, check for these items.

❏ Avoid multiple exclamation points!!!!! Avoid even single exclamation points! Except for the case of a true exclamation, like the rare Rats! Or the too-rare Cubs win!
❏ DON’T WRITE TEXT IN ALL CAPS. It’s too hard to read, and it’s shouting in print. AND WHY SHOUT?
❏ Avoid per, as in per instructions. Other than uses like words per sentence, let cats per.
❏ Use the search function to find -ly words, adverbs. Check each adverb ending in -ly to see if it can be cut. Use stronger verbs and you won’t need the help of adverbs.
❏ Search for -ize and -ization and cut those when you can.
❏ Search for -tion words, too, and cut them down to size.
❏ Affect is a verb meaning to influence. Effect is sometimes a verb meaning to produce, but it’s most often a noun, meaning the result produced.
❏ Impact is a noun not a verb.
Wrong: The ten-pound report impacted him a lot.
Right: The impact of the ten-pound report broke his ribs, his spirit, and his momentum up the career ladder.

Buy the book!

Jen Frederick: On the Power of Found Family

Jen Frederick: On the Power of Found Family

New York Times bestselling author Jen Frederick discusses how she represented the adoption experience in her new romance novel, Seoulmates.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 597

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an "Imagine a World..." poem.

How To Create a Podcast, Develop an Audience, and Get Your Novel Published

How To Create a Podcast, Develop an Audience, and Get Your Novel Published

We’ve discussed podcasting to help promote the book you’ve written—but what about podcasting as a way to tell the story itself? Here, author Liz Keller Whitehurst discusses how the podcast of her novel, Messenger, came to be.

Hunter or Hunted?

Hunter or Hunted?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, we're in the middle of a hunt.

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory

Announcing the Get Published in 2022: Breaking In Resource Directory from Writer's Digest magazine, which includes advice from 41 agents, 39 debut authors, and 27 small presses.

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at The Idaho Review, a literary journal accepting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions.

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Learn when you're using an abbreviation vs. acronym vs. initialism with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

What Is Investigative Journalism?

What Is Investigative Journalism?

Alison Hill breaks down the definition of investigative journalism, how good investigative journalism makes for sweeping societal change, and how the landscape of the work is evolving.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce six new WDU courses, a romance writing virtual conference, and more!