Revision Basics

Today I am coming at you with the a blog post on how to tackle revision. It seems intimidating, but it can actually be a very enjoyable part of the process.

I cannot stress enough how important this first step is. Leave your manuscript for 1-3 months. Some people say a week, some people say a year, but 1-3 months is enough time to come back to your manuscript and look at it from a reader's perspective, rather than a writer's. The biggest thing you might notice might be pacing, or white room syndrome. You may have had everything shaped in your head, but you had forgotten to inform the readers about these details. 

During the time that you have set aside your novel, send it to your beta readers. Your beta readers are people who read your book, and give you notes. Try to get at least 1-4 people. These can be writers, or just people who are willing to read your book. You can use their notes as part of your revision process. One of the things I like to do when I send a book to a reader is to give them a series of questions to respond to. The questions include things like, "Was it too fast-paced?" or "Did you see any scenes that could be lengthened or shortened?" I will leave a link to all of the questions that I ask may readers. I encourage you, when you are writing your questions, to make them specific to your plot and characters. 

After you get back notes from your beta readers and it has been a few months, pull up that file again. (I personally like to print out my manuscript to give it more of a "I'm reading" affect rather than writing.) Just read your manuscript, without worrying about editing. If you come across something you want to change, write a note. If you go in and try to fix it, you get back into the writing mode which you do not want to have. 

After you have read it and made a list of the things you want to change, decide on what type of drafter you are. Some people only write one draft, then keep revising until it is finished. Others may write many completely knew drafts before deciding which one to edit. Usually, if you want to make big plot or character changes, writing a new draft might be the way to go. But if you have smaller and more manageable things on your list, edit your first manuscript. 

Revise your notes and your critique parter's notes. You have just done an overviewing revision. Now you want to go in and specifically look at one part of your novel. It could be the friendship/romance arc, it could be a specific section of your book (if you have it divided into parts). It could also be pacing. (I talked about this in last week's post- go check it out!) There is a lot that you can do with this. 

The next step is to see if you have any new ideas to contribute to the story. Many writers add in supporting or even main characters to the book in revision. Sometimes, you might see potholes and have an idea to complicate the plot. This will be the next step.

Do you have a specific way to revise? Let us know in the comments. If you have any revision questions, I will always answer them in the comments. (There has actually been a glitch recently with commenting. It seems that you can only post a comment successfully through a computer. I will give an update when this issue is fixed.) I hope this helps you tackle the intimidating part of writing your novel!

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