Quick checklist adapted from Kirt HIckman's "Revising Fiction".Buy his book for explanation. These are just the checkboxes.
Self-Editing Checklist (* Adapted from Revising Fiction by Kirt Hickman) AUTHORING Concept: Determine your theme. World building (as needed). Physical World (Map?) Moral codes Economics Domestic Politics World Politics Religion Paranormal Elements (if any) Scientific Advancement Day-to-day life (how does it differ from reality) All must mesh into a coherent whole Characters: Determine the following for each major character: Physical traits Style of speech Character flaws Special skill Definable personality Identifying criteria: Catchphrases Mannerisms Props Virtues Backstory (doesnt have to actually be in your story) Arc of change Characterization pitfalls: Make sure each character has a unique personality Make your hero strong-willed Remove clichd character traits Dont forget secondary characters Fill out character profile for each character Plot: Verify Plot Basics Make sure you have a hero the reader will care about Give your hero a noble goal Make the stakes high Put a difficult obstacle (threshold guardian) in your heros way Make sure your hero performs the action most responsible for resolving the central conflict. Make sure your hero goes through life-altering change Make sure you havent lost the thread of cause and effect anywhere in the manuscript To Build Suspense: Make at least one character especially violent or adversarial Spring surprises Mislead your reader Do your worst (the situation can always degenerate) Take away that which is most important to your hero Haunt your hero with memories of past failure Turn the environment loose upon your characters Employ phobias Never make anything easy Show that the danger is real Impose a deadline Prevent your hero from running away Include a final twist near the end Use these techniques in combination First Draft (do the following for each scene): Select a viewpoint character Make a setting card Write the scene Make a scene card