DE Navarro - Author, Poet, Editor, Publisher, Speaker, Life Coach

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The Power Revision Checklist

A fourteen point checklist designed to help writers add power and punch to their writing so they can make good writing into great writing.

Some of these points may be very shocking or contrary to what you have learned or what you previously thought.

In my class, The Expanded Power Revision Checklist, I teach the why of each of these points and give very vivid writing examples that help the student to see for themselves the power that is added by employing these techniques and how simple they really are to use.

You can get a free copy of The Expanded Power Revision Checklist by subscribing to my Poetry and Writing Arts Ezine.

The Power Revision Checklist

1.  Show more, tell less. Show by using telling details and vivid imagery.

2.  Write with precise nouns and verbs. Eliminate the need for an overabundance of modifiers.

   a.  Avoid countless "-ly" words and other adverbs by using specific power verbs.

   b.  Avoid excessive adjectives that add nothing to the noun.

3.  Avoid the passive voice. Write in the active voice. Be direct, aggressive, positive, and clear. Use the passive voice only when necessary to convey a particular mood or attitude.

4.  Limit the use of uncommon words such as inexorable, obfuscate, expunge, etc., which tend to be showy. Instead use simple, common, direct language.

5.  Avoid weak (indefinite) words such as almost, about, appears, approximately, probably, nearly, virtually, seems, etc. Avoid all "-ish" words such as greenish, palish, roughish, and on. Be precise. Your reader wants clear, definite, precise images, not nebulous, vague abstractions.

6.  Avoid office or business language such as at this point in time, at this juncture, upon notice of this situation. Replace with simple, direct language such as now, when, then, etc.

7.  Avoid common clichés such as white as snow, quiet as a mouse, sweat like a dog, slept like a baby.

8.  Avoid endless synonyms for said. Effective writers know said is invisible and they craft the dialogue to express the emotions. It is better for the dialogue tag to be invisible.

9.  Avoid having characters speak with a sneer, grin, laugh, chuckle, growl, etc.

10. Avoid excessive dialect in dialogue. Use just enough to get the point across; don’t try to invent a whole new manner of spelling to mimic an accent.

11. Avoid entering the story from behind the narrative with funny comments, or statements like: "If she only knew what was waiting for her at home," or "little did she know."

12. Avoid exclamation points! A well placed exclamation point adds emphasis! Continual use of exclamation points makes them generic! And renders them void of impact! Okay!!

13. Avoid three dots in a row ( . . . ) to indicate a break or interruption in dialogue. Use the dash– instead.  Three dots are okay for dialogue that trails off, or for unspoken words that are implied.

14. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. This makes for easier and more direct reading.

©2000-2014 NavWorks Press and DE Navarro. Property of All rights reserved.

You may copy, keep, share and post this list anywhere so long as you put the copyright and ownership statement at the end of the list and a link to my website. 

Thank you.