You’ve got your Author Checkpoint report, now what?
(If you don’t have one, grab it for free here.)
The first thing to realize is: your report is not a reflection of your abilities as a writer.
Let’s say you play recreational tennis a
nd someone decides to watch you play one match. Not only that, they write down your statistics for that match. How many successful serves did you have, how many outs, etc.?
If you're not pleased with the results of your match, what would you conclude?
- I can’t play tennis, I quit
- It wasn’t my best game
- I need to practice my serve.
Hopefully, you’re in the third category. You see the report for what it is – a tool that can help you work on your game.
The best writers (and probably tennis players) are constantly trying to figure out how to get better.
Does this mean all bestselling writers calculate how many characters they use per word and track the length of their sentences? Probably not. Instead, over time, they learn how to write in a simpler, clearer style, which gives them the ‘right’ metrics.
Stephen King says:
“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.”
It’s not because he saw the adverb metric on his Author Checkpoint report. Instead, thanks to a great deal of practice, he discovered that adverbs make it difficult to express himself clearly.
The report is a way of showing you what kind of changes you should consider making to your work. If you have a high adverb count, you’ll become aware of it. If you use the same words too often, you’ll start avoiding them. If your sentences are long, you’ll begin to notice.
Whatever your results are, approach them with an open mind. Even if you don’t agree with them, pick one metric and test it.
How Can You Test Changes to Your Book?
Did the report say you use the passive voice too often? Take a scene from your book and experiment with it. Comb through it and change any passive sentences to active ones.
Do whatever it takes to get that scene within the recommended range for passive sentences. (TIP: You don’t need to run your full manuscript through Author Checkpoint. If you’re working on one scene or chapter, save it in a separate file and get a report on that section.)
Once your results are within the recommended range, take a look at the section. Has it improved? Do you prefer it to the older version?
You might have a breakthrough, in which you see how your writing can become clear, concise, and easier to read.
Let us know how it goes in the comments! Need to see some examples? Check these out.