Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Revising: Post 1

Revising my manuscript has commenced! Documenting my progress will keep me accountable for making progress, so updating my progress here on my blog will keep me plucking away at that revising.

Definition of revise: to change, amend, and improve (remembering that demands center stage in my brain).

My stats so far: Four chapters revised; 42 more to go. Seventeen pages out of 189 have been changed, amended, and improved.

Revising discoveries I've made: (bullet points required here).
  •  Revising isn't as much fun as writing.
  • Getting stuck and overwhelmed is easy.
  • Conflicting ideas from critique partners make revising even harder.
  • Revising isn't as much fun as writing.
  • When I finish revising a chapter, I desire to print a clean copy but don't.
  • Writing a 'these things need help' list helps.
  • Revising isn't as much fun as writing.
I have so many questions about revising styles and techniques. Any tips are welcomed and will be viewed like a friendly, encouraging hug from a writerly friend. Are you revising? Knowing that encourages me also.


  1. I'm from the revising is more fun than drafting camp, so hopefully I can encourage you. Before I actually start, I take time to brainstorm in order to solve all story or character problems that need addressed. I keep a revision notebook (akin to you lists) where I keep track of the "domino effect". If I change A, must remember that B, C, and D will need to change, too. The process feels like tearing apart a beautiful garment, then sewing it back up. Emotionally it can get a bit dicey, but in the end, you'll see a better product.

    After I've finished the tearing and resewing stage, I print out the entire MS and read it out loud with a red pen in hand, preferably in one long sitting so I can find any stray or missing threads.

    Best wishes with your revision. My reward for finishing my latest draft will be the joy of revising it. (You are free to make gagging noises now)

  2. I wished I loved revising as much as Angelina, and honestly, I do eventually. But I dread the first go-through, when everything is still rough. Once I get to the point where I'm just polishing, my enthusiasm returns.

    Besides the list, I'd keep a clip-file, where you put everything you think you need to cut out, but hate to. It doesn't seem as final to put it in a file, and yet it still gets the job done. When you're finished, then you can go back and re-read your clip file to see if you truly needed anything. Usually, I don't.

    Good luck!

  3. Oooo! Angelina, I love knowing that revising is so fun for you. The tearing up and re-sewing image is helpful. Thank you.

    Susan, I never considered a clip-file. That way you don't have to say good-bye until you're ready.

  4. I recently finished revising my manuscript. I had to write some completely new scenes and rework others. If I hadn't needed to write new scenes, I might agree with you that writing is more fun than revising. Thankfully, I had some creativity still thrown in with my revising process to keep my sanity intact.

    Best of luck to you with your manuscript! :)

  5. I think you already know my feelings on revision, so I'm going to share one thing I do to keep track of my changes, rewrites and such. I keep a log, where I make note chapter by chapter of what I did and also a 3 to 4 sentences resume of what's going on in that chapter.
    It helps me stay focus and not get lost.

    Much courage to you on this journey. :)

  6. I have a friend who revises her book into a new document. She looks at the old document and starts typing in the new (hope that makes sense). In a separate note books she writes down thoughts that come up, things she realizes she will need to fix later in the story. She finds it helps her process the the story differently that if everything is done on the computer over top the old draft...

    I'm a reviser on top of the newest draft who uses save as alot.

    One tip I have for getting back into the revision if you are stuck is going in a looking for the little things, the words you over use, grammar that needs fixing. When I do that it is not too long before I am back on track thinking and revising the big stuff!

  7. Rachel, that's what I'm missing in revising - the newness that comes from a developing story. Today I started working in some groovy late 70s music (my MS is set in 1979). So that's been fun.

    Akoss, I like the idea of keeping a 'what changed' log. I do have a ch by ch outline of my MS or I would've become lost as I wrote!

    Deb, your friend's technique is intriguing....
    And I like your tip about when I'm stuck. Thank you.

  8. Good luck! It looks like you've already made a great start!

  9. I'm just finishing up revisions and letting my wip sit for a bit before reading it through again! Good luck with yours!

  10. Myrna, thanks for the encouragement!

    Laura, after this initial round of revising, I will break for a bit too. Time and distance allows better perspective, I think.

  11. I'm stuck in revising mode too and love that you said "revising isn't as much fun" three times!!! So true!! Same problem here with conflicting critiques. But that making a list thing, that does really help. Cheering you on!

  12. Margo, thank you for stopping by! When I'm revising, I'll think of you - not having as much fun as when you're writing - like me. =) Cheering you on too!


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