In the past couple of weeks, we've talked about awkward wording, misused words, bland adjectives, misplace commas, and boring verbs. What else could possibly be wrong? Before you decide your book is perfect, let's try one final round of tweaking.
1.Passive voice always makes your writing weaker than it needs to be. If the subject is acted upon, the sentence is passive. One way to remedy the situation is to let the object do the action.
Examples: "The mailman was bitten by my dog."(Passive-the subject received the action.) Change it to "My dog bit the mailman. (Active-the subject, my dog, did the action.)Do a search for any form of the verb "to be" (am, is, are, was, were, been) and eliminate it whenever possible. Remember, though, the use of a form of "to be" does not always make a sentence passive. Examples: My dog was biting the mailman. (Active-the subject did the action.)The verb is "was biting." you have to look at every instance to tell shich is whih.
2. White space – make sure you don’t have lengthy segments of narrative. Dialog helps to keep up the pacing. Perhaps you give more description than is needed. Try staring at the page from across the room. Do you have enough white space to make the page look interesting?
3. Do your chapters end with a hook? What about the opening line(s). Did you have a smooth transition?
4. Did the scene(s) move the story forward?
5. Don’t divulge everything about a character, only what is necessary.
6. Is the dialog natural? Too many tags? Not enough? Search for said. Is it really necessary to identify the speaker?
7. Vary your sentence structure.
8. Are you’re consistent with the characters’ physical descriptions. Blue eyes can’t turn brown in a later scene.
9. Do the stakes increase as the story progresses?
10. Make sure your twists and surprises are plausible. You have to have a reason to drop a dead body from the ceiling, and the character better be someone pertinent to the story.
Tweaking your work using the suggestions above will produce a tighter and more polished manuscript. Are there more things to consider? You bet. I’ve only touched on a few. Will you catch all the errors? No. Can anyone? No. Do your best. Watch for what isn’t there--those often-omitted articles and prepositions. Let your critique partners or friends proof your material. You can’t have enough eyes. What you overlook, they might catch. It’s amazing how several people can read the same chapter and each one find errors the others missed.
Good luck and happy writing. Remember, cleaning up your manuscript is just a matter of taking out the trash.
(Borrowed, in part, from http://www.sylviarochester.com)