My number one rule is forget about spelling and grammar until the very very very last edit – because if in the mean time you add something here or change that chapter then you’re just going to need to re-read for spelling and grammar. Save time, do spelling and grammar last. If you spot something fix it but just reading for spelling or grammer is a waste of time before you’re certain the story is how it should be.

Activity 1

Do a complete read as quickly as you can. Keep a notebook handy and look for plot consistency. Get the story line right. Make sure your characters are consistent IE the MC doesn’t start off with blond hair then suddenly have brown. The only way to do this is in a quiet spot with complete concentration and no interruptions.

Activity 2.

Print off a page a day, or whatever your writing schedule is. this activity’s great because you can take your page anywhere – on the bus, in front of the tv, waiting in a line, edit that page to pieces. completely re-write sentences, and work each line to make it perfect. don’t be afraid to start fresh on bits or to shuffle things around.

Activity 3.

Read aloud, words flow differently when you read it aloud.Take notice if you repeat words or letters, take notice you you waffle on and bore yourself, listen to the flow of dialogue – make it good. Act out bits, use emphasis, look at yourself in the mirror and let your words show the story – don’t try to explain things, show them. It’s supposed to be really good if you can get someone else to read your story aloud to you and simply listen to the flow – if you can find someone willing to do it.

 Activity 4.

Write short stories, or poems, about specific points in your story. The more dynamic an understanding you have the  better able you will be to show the rest of the world.

Activity 5.

Work on your character. They each need to be individual. Do a mind-map or brain-storm of each character and if you start to notice that you are repeating the exact same attributes then you know where to begin fine tuning. It may be as simple as adding a favorite word to one character and a favorite food to another, or making one a step-child/parent which changes their backgrounds and possibly their attitudes to certain things, or give them a hobby – a footballer playing mum will be different in many ways to their sister the famous painter mum. You can have so much fun with this one – go to the markets and shops and keep your eyes open – you may see the exact Painting your MC is working on or the watch they wear or the trinket they wish they’d brought in chapter 3 (take your camera and snap a few shots to jog your memory later)

Activity 6.

This one is for when you get to the point of looking at spelling and grammar. Read it backwards, sentence by sentence. Sounds silly – it wont make any sense! But that means that you won’t accidently read what you know it says rather than reading what it actually says. A common one for me is the typo ‘packed’ instead of ‘packet’ and vice versa. It’s easy to miss in the heat of a battle or love scene but makes a huge difference.

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