Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revising in a 'Creepy' Way

This week, as promised, I’m going to share my revision process.  As most of you know, I am chairman and spokesperson for the ‘Revision Haters Club’ so you can imagine it took some honest determination to follow the steps below. - Kind of an experiment of sorts.

 I finished my rough draft September 14th and my goal was to have it query ready by the end of October.

I used a variant of Elana J’s method for ‘Editing Your Manuscript In Thirty Days’ along with some other great tips and advice I’ve picked up along the way.

Step One- I readied my manuscript for print out by rereading and fixing any obvious problems. 

Step Two- I went shopping.  Who doesn’t get excited about new office supplies?  In any case, they pumped me up for the process.

Step Three-  I printed out my manuscript, stuck it in a box and let it marinate for a while. 



Step Four-  I played 52 pick-up.  Basically I mixed up ALL the pages of my manuscript.  No, I didn’t throw them around the room and then spend an hour picking them up- that’s way too much physical activity for my taste.  But I did divide the manuscript into several piles and then took a page from each randomly until the entire thing was mixed up. 


Step Five-  I took my hustry trusty red pen and line edited each page- checking for misused or over-used words,  too much or too little description, tension, grammar and punctuation.  (I’ve got to say- this method ROCKS!  I picked up on so much more than I ever have when doing a beginning-to-end edit.)

Step Six- Once I finished all the pages, I put them back in order and recorded the first round edits on Draft 2.


Step Seven-  I left the draft alone for a few more days before taking out the green pen.  With the green pen and sticky notes, I went through it looking for things like pacing and plot discrepancies.  I decided to put some flashbacks into chronological order and change their placements for better pacing.  I also took a good look at each chapter, making sure there was a mini-conflict to create tension and an ending that entices.

Step Eight- Once this was done, I sent Draft  3 out to a couple beta readers and anxiously awaited their feedback.  See-  ‘Killing Time Between Revisions…Productively.’
Thankfully, my beta readers were awesome (and worked fast) and ten days later I had a whole new outlook on my MS.  My betas helped me figure out what was working, and what needed work- where my MC’s voice was off, and any confusing or unclear plot points that needed to be ironed out. 


By now, my MS is starting to look like there’s a second book written in the side bar- there are so many corrections, deletions, replacements, and commentaries.  But ALL of them have worked to polish things up.


Step Nine- integrate my beta’s feedback.

Step Ten-  Send it out to another batch of beta’s.  If I get the ‘thumbs up’ from them, I think I’ll be about ready to query!

I hope these ten steps will help all Revision Haters Club members who have a hard time getting motivated!  I have to say, revision time went by a lot faster and felt a lot more productive this time around than it ever has before!  Thanks to everyone who offered support and advice!

*CQG*


46 comments:

Renae said...

Wow! You have been a busy, busy girl! I love the idea of mixing up the ms before doing a line edit. It's so easy to miss overused words and that does sounds like a great way to catch them. Congrats on being so close to the finish line!

Candyland said...

HOLLA! This is freakin' awesome Katie!!! Now, can you come do mine for me?!

Joanna St. James said...

good job, I see u've been hitting carrefour hard. I might copy your revision process because I hate hate hate revisions ugh. even the thot of it *shudders*

Quinn said...

I might have to try mixing up the pages of my manuscript. I think we both finished ours on the same day. I was giving mine a month to just sit so I could come at it from a fresher perspective.

Jessica Bell said...

KAtie that's so awesome! What a cool process. I should try that page mixing next time!!!! :o)

Summer Ross said...

You have rocked this! Great job! I'm so glad you have gotten so much done!

Laura Pauling said...

Step by step every day - that's how revisions get done! Awesome!

Piedmont Writer said...

Good Job! Want to come and do mine? lol. I don't mix mine up, per se, I start from the end and work my way forward.

Looks like you'll be ready to go sooner than me. Congratulations!

Dan said...

Wow, you're way more organized than I am. I'm also near the end of my revisions. My methods have been far more hodge-podge, attack one section or chapter (in no particular order) at a time until my eyes start to bleed. Sometimes I'll read a chapter backwards (paragraph by paragraph); it sounds silly, but it works.

What surprises me is how enjoyable it's been. I marinated my manuscript for about four months out of dread before I dove into the rewrites. But now I look forward to the time I set aside to do it. Go figure.

Jen Daiker said...

You have no idea how much this helped me. I've been looking for a somewhat thought out system so I'm not climbing into revisions all weird and unaware. Now that you use a certain method I'm going to test it, most likely creating my own in the end, but at least I have a place to start!

Thanks :)

Meredith said...

Oh, wow, I need to try that 52 pickup method. I never thought about line-editing like that, but it would be super helpful. Thanks for sharing your process!

Tessa Quin said...

Yeah what is it with office supplies!? I can spend hours browsing and picking out the things I "need" (don't really need, but might come in handy). This is a great method, and I'm bookmarking this for my revisions.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The line edits I do as I go along. Mixing up the manuscript would get in the way of revising flaws in tempo, tension, and foreshadowing I need to see to fix.

Whatever system works for you, stick with it. Seeing as how I am as yet unpublished, how wise can my advice be, right?

Have a great week, Roland

Dawn said...

This is an awesome process. I especially love the idea of mixing up the pages and editing each as its own piece. That's brilliant. Thanks for sharing this process. As president of the Canadian Revision Haters Club (right?), I empathize.

Melissa Gill said...

Great process. I like the idea of mixing up your pages like that. I'll have to try that next time.

Anne said...

I'm with Candyland. Are you available for hire?

Stephen Tremp said...

Interesting idea. Anything to jar the creativity loose. Gotta love that sidebar of Track Changes.

Stephen Tremp

Melody said...

This is encouraging to know that someone has done it, and made progress!

It's also very daunting, because I justfinishedthemanuscriptandyoumeanthereisstillallthisworktodo!? :/ *perseverance, perseverance, perseverance*

Nicole L Rivera said...

I LOVE this method!!! I just started revisions 8 day's ago. I'm following the original method, but I am considering adding in some of your changes to it. This method actually makes the whole process somewhat bearable. ;)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Wow, I wish I had the nerve to mix up my pages that way. lol.
I do like the hardcopy/pen method. I do that too.

Yay to being close to the finish line. :)

Matthew Rush said...

This is awesome! Great work Katie. I could never be this organized about it.

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww thank you so much for sharing your revision steps! I'm so so so impressed!!!! Well done you!!! I love the shopping bit best!!!!

Yay to your fab beta readers!!!

I must use your awesomeness to get motivated - I must I must! Take care
x

StaceyW said...

This rocks! Thanks for going step by step. I'm in the middle of revision hell myself, and I'm going to try out your method.

It's time for me to do some hard copy editing anyway. My eyes are so bleary from screen reading I can barely process the words anymore.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow! What a great system. I am bookmarking this post FOR-EV-ER!! :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great steps!
And I wouldn't want to play 52-card-pickup either. Requires effort.

Kathryn said...

Wow, that 52 pick up point sends my OCD straight through the roof! But I'm intrigued; and that's a good way to just look at each page as a stand alone to see overused words - I might try it.

In perfectly neat, symmetrical piles.

Actually - that should be a Word function...

Colene Murphy said...

Awesome steps! Mixing them up really works better? Was always a little skeptical about that tip but if it really does, I will def. have to try it out!

Carolyn V. said...

Wow! That's awesome! I need to get my revisions done. I love the ideas! Thanks Katie! =D

Hart Johnson said...

I think my process was a lot harder than yours. Do I get bonus points for that? I had big gaping PLOT HOLES to clean up... I oversold the killer. Maybe it is a genre thing though... Mysteries don't have much leeway... (then again, a cozy isn't as picky about beautiful language... so there is THAT... I'm glad you've managed most of your process!

Dominique said...

Wow. You've got a very interesting process. Your idea of missing of the pages particularly intrigues me. Still, it scares me a little too much for me to use it, probably.

LTM said...

wow. That's crazy! But interesting... I'm confused how that scattering the pages part works--?

The best thing I find is the trusty beta-readers. I love love love my beta readers. :o) <3

keep at it! Great work~

Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for sharing your method--looks fascinating!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome post. I think I may have to go through this method for my novels before querying them. I just really want my novels out shine before sending them out into the scary publishing world.

Joy Tamsin David said...

OMG! I loooovvve this. I have never seen this revision process before. I'm totally going to try it!

Thanks!
Joy

Vicki Rocho said...

I never would have thought to mix up the pages. I can totally see how that would keep you in editing mode vs. reading mode. What a golden suggestion!

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Wow. That method about mixing pages sounds awesome! When I'm at this stage, I'll definitely give it a go! Thanks so much for the tip!

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, I'd never thought about mixing up the chapters. And good luck! Hope you get the all clear from this round of betas. :)

Lisa said...

I'm totally going to do this once I'm done with my rewrites! Thanks!

Nick said...

Hope you remembered to number the pages! - nick

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I did the mess-up-the-pages approach for my last novel but forgot to do it on the one I'm now querying.

Wow, I can't believe how fast you finished your novel. I spent months editing mine. Hopefully I'm faster this time around.

The Las Vegas Writer said...

I am going to incorporate your program into my revision process. Thanks for this post!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

This is awesome. Love all the photos. I never considered mixing up the pages..hmmm...

Kelly Dexter said...

I'm a big fan of mixing up pages and chapters while editing. Sometimes during a sequential edit you can't help but get ahead of yourself (since you already know what's coming) and wind up missing things. Sounds like you have your process down to a science!

DL Hammons said...

That was awesome!!! When I grow up....I want to be just like you! :)

Slamdunk said...

I enjoyed your creative approach to this CQG. Glad you have a helpful set of Beta readers.

I am also impressed that you are able to leave any papers out without messy kids or messy domesticated animals trashing them.

notesfromnadir said...

I really like the idea of mixing up all the pages.

Thanks for showing us your step by step process. It seems to be very thorough.

Also, it's a great idea to use different color pens for different revisions. This method is very helpful for obvious reasons.

It's great that you seem to be on schedule. Best of luck! :)

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