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!