Review Your Work: Tip #11

Consider each chapter individually. Make sure it contains everything you had planned to include. Look for correct chronology. You may find that one paragraph works better at the beginning or middle or end rather than where you originally set it in place. Words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and whole chapters are often shifted and re-shifted from place to place to improve the flow, consistency, and overall impact of your message. Some may be omitted entirely.

In the course of writing and rewriting, you will tend to assume certain pieces of information have been included—whether about a person, place, or a thing. A piece of detail, perhaps, or a description—a particular point that is important to the overall clarity of your story or theme. You were sure it was included somewhere in the text, but your search ends without a trace of it. Like so many writers, you had made a basic assumption. Because a specific element was already established inside your mind, you assumed that you had transmitted the thought to print. You hadn’t.

Such things don’t always pop out at you on the first read-through. By the second or third or fourth time around, however, you are more likely to start seeing all sorts of inconsistencies in your work. Why did you state something here that is in no way relevant until there? And didn’t you already state pretty much the same thing on the previous page that you are repeating here, as if for the first time?

Until you took on the task of the read-through, you were sure your words read perfectly as they were. Now you see thoughts that are repeated, only in difference words. And chronology that is back and forth and back again when you intended it to be linear. The more you read over a chapter, the more such errors stand out, waiting for you to pick them off, one by one, and delete them away forever.

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