Even the mere mention of it will make you want to pull out your hair, can bring the most seasoned writers to their knees, and makes small puppies cry. Okay, maybe not the last one. But you get my drift.
No one looks forward to revising, but hopefully the following tips can help make the process a little easier.
1. Step Back.
Just finished your breakout novel? Now you’re ready to revise, right? Wrong. You’re too close. It’s too fresh in your mind to look at it with the objective eye needed for those ruthless revisions. Put it away and work on something else in the meantime. Then come back to it later.
2. Print It Out.
Words look different on paper than on a screen. You can pick up on different problems or get a better feel for the flow of a chapter. So get your pens, highlighters, and colored tabs ready. Give yourself plenty of space to make your notes by formatting the document to be single-sided, double-spaced, and don’t forget the wide margins.
3. Take Notes.
As you read through your manuscript, things will jump out at you. Make a note in your margins as you come across them. A separate notebook is handy to keep continuity details straight, such as timeline, character traits, and subplots. When you find a new detail, add it to your list so you can compare it to future references in the novel. For example, your main character might start off as a fifteen-year-old with blue eyes, only to end up a seventeen-year-old with green peepers.
4. Read But Don’t Touch.
Take your notes, but don’t pause during that initial read-through. You might miss something. This is especially true when it comes to continuity. If there’s a problem or you have a Eureka! moment, write it down. You can always come back to it later.
These tips will help you get started. If you want to learn more, check out next week’s post on what to look for during a revision.
When it comes to specific and practical tools for revision, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass is a book I’ve found invaluable. I highly recommend it. In fact, I love it so much, I’m going to give it to you! (And no, I’m not getting paid to do so).
HOW TO ENTER:
To enter to WIN one of three copies, just write in the comments section below and answer one question: What is your favorite tip for revising?
The draw will be held on April 1, 2013 (no foolin), and I will be using Random.org to help choose the winner and to keep things fair.
Good luck 🙂