Editing Checklists

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Editing: "It's the story putting on its clothes, combing its hair, maybe adding just a small dash of cologne." 
                            
                                                    ~Stephen King, On Writing

Narrative Essay

  1. What is the story told in this essay? (the plot)

  2. How does your first paragraph make readers want to hear the rest of the story?

  3. Does all the information in the essay clearly relate to the story? (If not, should a different story be told or should supporting details be revised or deleted?)

  4. How does the story unfold? Chronologically? Beginning in climax and using flashbacks? Is the sequence logical? If not, you may need to re-arrange.

  5. Check paragraphs: Do they each address one main idea? Do any paragraphs need to be more developed?

  6. Check transitions: do they help connect the ideas?

  7. How does your essay end? What will linger in the mind of the reader? A quotation? A rhetorical question? A shocking statistic?

  8. What is your title? How does it fit the story? Will it make people want to read your story?

  9. What is your essay's tone? Formal? Sophisticated? Conversational? Does the essay’s tone match its intended audience?

  10. How does your essay meet the purpose you previously defined?

  11. What theme(s) do you hope will surface for your audience?

  12. When you think your essay is where you want it, cut 100 words. Not in chunks. (Look for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, whole details which are unrelated, words like "that," and unnecessary helping verbs. see list below)

I-Search Essay

1. What question are you asking?

2. How does your first paragraph make your audience want to read the rest of the essay?

3. Does all the information in the essay clearly relate to the question? (If not, should a different question be asked or should supporting details be revised or deleted?)

4. How does the story-of-the-search section unfold? Chronologically? Beginning in climax and using flashbacks? Is the sequence logical? If not, you may need to re-arrange.

5. Check paragraphs: Do they each address one main idea? Do any paragraphs need to be more developed?

6. Check transitions: do they help connect the ideas?

7. How does your essay end? Do you return to your original question?

8. What is your title? (Often, in I-search, the question is the title.) Will it make people want to read your story?

9. Who will read your essay and what do you hope they will do?

10. What is your essay's tone? Formal? Sophisticated? Conversational? Does the essay’s tone match its intended audience?

11. Check your Works Cited page: Is it in MLA style? Is your first page in MLA style?

12. When you think your essay is where you want it, cut 10%. Not in big chunks—Look for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, whole details which are unrelated, words like "that," and unnecessary helping verbs. (see list below)

 

Critical Thinking Essay (Poetry Explication or Opinion)

1. What is your main point? (For example: This is a poem about a broken relationship. —or— People should only buy hygiene products that are not tested on animals.)

2. How does your first paragraph make your audience want to read the rest of the essay?

3. Does all the information in the essay clearly relate to the main point stated above? (If not, should supporting details be revised or deleted?)

4. How does your essay unfold? Beginning with line one of the poem? Beginning with a climactic scenario followed by statistics and the response you hope your readers will have? Is the sequence logical? If not, you may need to re-arrange.

5. Check paragraphs: Do they each address one main idea? Do any paragraphs need to be more developed?

6. Check transitions: do they help connect the ideas?

7. How does your essay end? Have you provided closure? What will linger in the mind of your readers?

8. What is your title? Will it make people want to read your essay?

9. Who will read your essay and what do you hope they will do?

10. Have you imagined and answered to your audience’s objections?

11. Have you accounted for your poem’s elements of craft? (rhyme, meter, alliteration, etc...)

12. What is your essay's tone? Formal? Sophisticated? Conversational? Does the essay’s tone match its intended audience?

13. Check your Works Cited page: Is it in MLA style? Is your first page in MLA style? (Your header should be flush left, double spaced, and the title should be centered.)

14. Have you included the poem in an appendix with its lines numbered?

15. When you think your essay is where you want it, cut 10%. Not in big chunks—Look for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, whole details which are unrelated, words like "that," and unnecessary helping verbs.

 

 

Helping Verbs:

may, might, must • be, being, been • am, are, is, was, were • do, does, did • should, could, would • have, had, has • will, can, shall

 

Don't forget to proofread! Methods:

Read out loud.
Underline one line at a time.
Point to each word with a pencil.
Have a friend read it for you.
Read backwards.