Tips for Revising Stories

As my time as a creative writing student at NC State comes to a close, I’ve been collecting all of the best advice I’ve gotten in my fiction and poetry writing workshops into one place that I can refer back to when I need some help. I’ll be posting the best of them here too. Today I have the best tips on revising stories from my fiction writing workshops.

1. To maintain consistency, revise the story as a whole, not in parts.

2. Try to look at the story objectively and be flexible. Putting the story away for a while before you revise helps with this.

3. Does your story start at the right moment in the narrative line? I’m often guilty of starting a story too early, before any action.

4. Are the facts about your characters accurate and consistent? Is your point of view consistent?

5. Eliminate adverbs and unnecessary dialogue tags – these can clutter or bog-down your writing.

6. Could every paragraph or scene stand on its own?

7. Are the story’s beginning and end connected? Do they sound like the same story?


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