Revision Checklist for Writing Contests

On Wednesday’s last 7th on 7th, I reviewed the previous pages I’d revised and winning pg70pit entries I’d deconstructed, showing you what to do, what not to do, and how to fix red flags in your entries. Today I have a checklist for you to improve or strengthen the style and voice for one page (and hopefully beyond).

Revision Checklist for Writing Contests (and hard-core writer nerds)

1. Read the page aloud.

I say this all the time because writers still don’t do it. Voice is how the text sounds, whether to your literal ears or to your brain’s internal ear. The words might not look awkward to you on the page, but they might sound awkward. Print out two copies of your page(s) and have a friend read the text aloud. On the other copy, you highlight parts that sound awkward or where the reader ran out of breath.

If the reader is running out of breath, that means your breath units are too long. The number of syllables between punctuation marks should be fewer than 25, with most falling between 8-15. Continue reading