Oh, The Ways to Revise…
So, I seem to have made it a habit to blog on Mondays. I think I’ll keep with that! =) And today’s topic comes from what I’ve been doing since January 18, err… give or take. Revising!
When I work on books, I haven’t really had a set thing of plotting or pantsing or doing a little of both. I don’t have a set way of building characters, they come to me in different ways. Sometimes they just float into my head, and sometimes I actively make them. (Although, on that note, this past time with my cyberpunk romance novella, I did actively build my hero using Holly Lisle’s The Character Workshop — Designing A Life article, and it worked wonderfully! So I’ll definitely have to try that again in the future.) But, I digress. The point is, I don’t have a set way of doing things.
Most often, I dive into revising by looking at page one, line one and working my way through. Reading each line, fixing each line. Rinse. Repeat. Honestly, the process overwhelms me sometimes. But that really isn’t the best way to see continuity issues and fix the big picture items that might be haunting the manuscript. I know this, and I’ve had my critique partner pick out those kinds of problems in a previous book.
Right now, I’m on a tight schedule with editing, so I don’t have the luxury of going through it three or four times to figure out those things. And geez, not like I’d want to!
There have been a couple of articles on revising, namely Rachel Caine’s Cruel to Be Kind method and there’s Lori Devoti’s Revision Checklist too, that I’ve always wanted to implement into my process, but I’ve been too in a hurry and stuck with the ol’ line-edit the manuscript to death trick. Ha! This time I decided to try them out. I’m basically using Rachel Caine’s process, but I’ll probably also do the Computer Search mentioned in Lori Devoti’s. All I can say so far is: WOW! I’ve made it through The Reading Pass, and I’ve found so many things that need fixed. Things I might’ve missed if I hadn’t been reading straight through.
This has shown me the ultimate importance of reading the book straight through a first time (and taking notes) before line-editing. I am so glad I’ve discovered these methods now. A really interesting article I found today by Jody Hedlund called Three Simple Stages of Self-Editing basically goes over the process Publishing Houses use when editing and how effective it’d be to utilize that system. That process is: Substantive, Line-Editing, and Copyediting. Basically, it follows, to an extent, the two methods above! And really, wouldn’t it be great to get into the habit of doing edits like publishing houses before getting contracted?
How do you revise? Do you have a set way, or are you still trying to figure out your process?
I am still trying to finesse my revision techniques but I know for sure I am 98% sure I will never write a complete manuscript before attempting revisions. The habit I have implemented is write, the next day review, revise, and make notes about what I wrote the day before and then proceed. And make sure to limit the amount of time I spend on the previous day's work. Then write, repeat process the next day. Once I get the first third of the manuscript down, read for content, gmc, places to cut, etc. And then continue to write.
Thanks for the comment and sharing your process, Yasmine! I've never tried revising like that. I guess I'm too afraid that I wouldn't finish the book and be able to keep myself firmly in the characters' heads with revising and then writing and so on. It's been hard enough for me to write one book this month while revising another! lol!
After 15 books and I'm not counting how many short stories, I have absolutely no process except that the characters need to be talking to me.
Wow! That's a lot of stories, Linda. Thanks for the comment!
I'm trying to develop a process, and I think I might finally be onto something. Basically, write write write and then devote a lot of time editing since I've learned that it takes me forever. lol
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