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How I Revise

I’m in the middle of revision right now. Though my process is different for each project, I’ll share the revision method for my current WIP.

Step One: I print out the whole thing in whatever font strikes my fancy, but it’s always double-spaced so I have enough room to scribble notes. Then I read it through in 3-5 days and make notes. They’re not extensive, mind you. It’s mostly for big things like:

  • Yawn. This lags.
  • This doesn’t belong here.
  • I have no idea what this sentence is trying to say.
  • Oops. Misplaced punctuation / words.
  • Who’s saying this?
  • Action choreography doesn’t make sense here.
  • This point deserves emotional depth upgrade.
  • Whoa. Emo much?
  • Repetitious.

Step Two: I consult my Maass notes and go through the hard copy draft again, this time marking places that could be changed / improved per my notes. If I run out of space on the actual manuscript page, I use a notebook designated for revision.

Step Three: I finally make all the changes on my computer.

Step Four: I spend about 2 weeks doing nothing but reading other people’s books and/or working on some other projects, but I do not revise anything I’ve written, even if it’s not my WIP. (I might beta for other people who I may ping later for Steps Seven and Eight below.) This helps me “reset” my eyes and brain, so to speak.

Step Five: I print out the WIP again. Repeat Step One. Then go through it again with ECE and EDITS.

Step Six: Make changes to my soft copy. Send to the 1st set of betas.

Step Seven: Make any changes as needed per the 1st set of betas.

Step Eight: Send it to the 2nd set of betas. (By this point, the manuscript should be more or less in shape.) Make final changes as needed.

Step Nine: Send to Agent. Give myself a week of detox time from revision so I can “reset” again as I know Agent usually has her own set of revision comments, etc.

How do you revise? What tools / books have you found helpful?

3 comments to “How I Revise”

  1. Kate Pearce
    · July 7th, 2010 at 1:48 am · Link

    I print the whole thing out as well and make general notes as I go about what needs fixing/adding to. Then I input that and then I send it out to my critters. So a bit shorter than your process but not that dissimilar. :)

  2. Renmiu
    · July 7th, 2010 at 12:10 am · Link

    Have to say that I sooooooo hate doing revision of the worse kind. Although I LUV telling my students to do it… I can’t stand reading it :(

    However, mentally I have to do it whenever I am doing psychological work–only because I have a good memory when it comes to people and my training. Also, I am very excellent at body language and so forth—I sound soooo boring when I mentioned work stuff :(

  3. Nadia Lee
    · July 7th, 2010 at 2:17 pm · Link

    Renmiu — I think psychology is very interesting. It was one of the subjects I was interested in majoring in until I got sucked into finance.

    Kate — Really? I thought you did everything on your computer…!

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