Friday, March 30, 2012


So I've been talking about revisions for a while, so I figured I'd share how I do it.

For me, revising is a big process.  My first draft is crap-tastic (I know everyone says that and if it's not, then it's not a first draft), but mine really is.  For me, this first draft is just getting the idea down on the page.  It's pretty bare-bones-y with not a lot of description and long rambling sentences.  I also tend to invert word order instead of having it flow naturally.

The first thing I [should] do is make an outline, documenting the inciting incident, rising action etc.  Then I write out all the scenes/chapters along with the point of each.  Does the MC find out a specific bit of information?  How is she feeling at this point?  Does this part need more magic?  What is the point of this scene?  What is her motivation?  Then I actually start revising.

I print out my novel.  I'm lucky that at work I can print out as much as I want.  I totally use this to my advantage.  (And I recycle!)  I start reading with my outline side-by-side.  I add to the first draft what needs to be added when I come to that part.  I'll make little notes in the margins, cross out what needs to be deleted, and whenever I find a long winded sentence (um, like all the time) I'll put it in brackets, writing "reword" or "condense" on the top.  I do this for a chapter at a time.  After I finish a chapter, I'll take my paper filled with red marks, and correct it on the computer, adding in the scenes that need to be added and whatnot.  Then I print it out again and do the same thing.  (Usually I do one chapter a day, so I'll sleep between the first read and the second read, then go on to the next chapter in the same day as the second read).  I do two passes for each chapter.  Unless I have an epiphany and realize I missed something completely and then I have to start the whole thing over, weaving that in throughout the story.  If there's something I'm really stuck on, though I usually try to fix them all, I'll make a comment in Word, using the comments function, which adds it to the margin.

Then I have CPs read it.  I do have an alpha reader who was amazingly helpful (thanks Lesley!) in making the first draft cohesive and giving great advice on how to change big picture things to make it better.  She read it before all the revisions and I can't believe she had to wade through all that crud, lol.

Then I do the same thing after CPs read it.

How do you guys revise?  Do you print out your work?  Or do it on the computer/e-reader?  Do you do it chapter by chapter or scene by scene or what?

I'm actually leaving for vacation in a few hours so I won't be posting for the next week or so.  Everyone have a good week!

1 comment:

  1. Whenever I'm revising, it's on a draft I finished at least a month ago, so I can kind of forget how awesome I thought everything was. I do most of it on the computer, rewriting and editing as I go through the pages. Then I do a read through without touching anything and note any problem areas.

    Then I fix the problems, do another read through, repeat until it's done. Then I print it out and look for spelling/grammar problems this way. Then and usually not any sooner is when I ask for others' input.

    I tend to outline before writing the first draft, and I pretty much stick to it. But I have to make sure the outline is as close to perfect as it can be before I start writing. So, in that way, it's part of the revision process too.