Make your reader BELIEVE in your story and CARE about your characters

  • Balance ACTION and DETAIL
  • Give the reader a SENSORY experience: smell, sight, sound, taste, and touch
  • Use EMOTION—what does character feel, and how does he/she react?

Keep the reader interested in your story

  • Cut material that doesn’t belong (off topic? wrong kind of detail? out of character?)
  • Cut unnecessary or repetitive parts, especially in high action. Essentials only!
  • Add characterization: character’s reaction to events, body language, word choice, motivation, instincts, feelings and thoughts
  • Where can you change a “tell” into a “show?”

Make your story flow

  • Give reader a variety of experiences: mix setting, senses, thoughts, and dialog
  • Replace clichés with original, creative ideas—no dark and stormy nights!

Avoid common mistakes

  • Don’t let narrator tell reader something the character can’t know (POV violation)
  • Replace “lazy” words (thing, something, very, really) with impactful words
  • Make sure pronouns (she, he, it, that) refer to the correct noun
  • Use a variety of sentence structures
  • Watch for word echoes or “pet” words

Get ahead of the game

  • Stay inspired & keep your ideas fresh
  • Get a critical beta reader!
  • Keep fresh eyes on your project
  • Fact-check your research!

©Moriah Densley 03/19/15

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