I wish I was one of those writers who LOVE jumping into revisions. Who revel in the process of ripping apart their first draft, cleaning up the overused words, tenses, plot holes, and adverbs and putting it all back together in a nice neat package.
But I’m not.
I HATE revising. As in, really really really don’t like to revise.
I think part of it is that I never used to have to do it in college. I’d write my 5-10 page paper, double check it, change some wording here and there and voila! I almost always got good grades on written projects.
Now, with 300 page manuscript staring me in the face, things are SO much more complicated than they were back then. After I finished the first draft of my first book back in 2009, I pretty much did my ‘college version’ of revision. I re-read. I changed wording here and there and basta!- the agents should give me an ‘A’. Right?
Yeah. You’re not in Kansas anymore sweetheart.
I actually had to Google: ‘how to revise your manuscript’
Since then I’ve gotten TONS of great advice:
1. 1. Let the first draft marinate for a few weeks.
2. 2.Give it a quick read through to note the plot, pacing, and characterization problems.
3. 3.Play 57 pickup (throw the numbered pages into the air and then edit them in no particular order. Does each page have tension? Are there any spelling mistakes? Have you used the same words or expressions more than once on the same page?
4. 4. Play bingo. Write your chapter numbers on slips of paper and throw them into a hat. Then each day pull one out and edit it. Is there a mini conflict in each chapter? Is there tension? Does it lead well into the next chapter or give a small cliffhanger?
5. 5. Read it out loud to check for flow.
6. 6.Line edit. Check each line for clarity, correct word usage, and eliminate or change words that have been overused throughout the manuscript.
7. 7.Now that you’re completely sick of your manuscript and can’t stand the sight of it, it’s best to hand it over to Beta Readers- fellow writers (and binge readers) who know a good book when they see ‘em and can give you honest and constructive feedback.
8. 8.Fix problems based on feedback.
Now, after all of that, you’d think my manuscripts would be squeaky clean.
But they’re not.
Why you ask?
Because I hate revising. Yes, we’re back to that.
I can’t believe I’m admitting this...
I start one tactic, rush through it, get sick of my ms and come to a halt. I skip steps to make the process go faster. I get caught up in the story and forget what I’m doing all together. I get bored. I move on. I come back and try again. I send it off to beta readers and slowly integrate their feedback over the span of weeks and weeks (months), knowing full well that I haven’t gotten to the bottom of the problem yet but then my new wip just looks so much shinier and more exciting than working on my boring old rough drafts!
SO -my questions for those who revel in the revision process are: HOW do you come to actually like revision and editing? How do you get pumped up? Stay interested? Not stop until you’ve actually finished? Not get caught up in a new project because it’s easier or more fun than revising?
And for the other members of the ‘Revision Hater’s Club’- I know your pain. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Secret meetings at my place after dark. No new wip’s allowed;)