Monday, April 9, 2012

Revision Cycle

In my recent post on revision, I noticed that I didn't actually spell out the process by which I am revising my second novel.  It requires a Kindle or some other e-book reader.  Here's the process:

  1. Create an e-book of the draft and put it on your e-book reader.  This is preparatory step.  You do it once and then never again, unless you repeat this whole process.
  2. Read one chapter of the book, using the notes feature in the Kindle (or what other feature there is in your e-book reader) to leave yourself comments.
  3. The next day:
    1. Incorporate the comments from the chapter you read into your draft of that chapter and then print out a copy of the chapter.
    2. Repeat step 2 with the next chapter of the book.
  4. The next day, read and markup the printout you made.  
  5. The next day: 
    1. Incorporate the comments from the printout.  This chapter is now complete.
    2. Incorporate the comments from the Kindle on the next chapter and print it out.
    3. Repeat step 2 for the next chapter of the book.
  6. The next day, repeat steps 4 through 5 until the whole book is revised.
I admit that it takes a while this way to revise the novel.  But I want to go slowly so I can think about each scene one at a time and make revision on a scene that are needed.  Using this approach, I've already expanded several scenes that needed more detail and cut melodrama from several others.

Of course, I could edit faster, but my goal is to get each scene complete and correct.  I will pay an editor to do a copy edit on anything I miss.  But only I can look at a scene and know if it is doing what I need it to do, what I want it to.  So my time here is an investment in the novel to make it better so it can sell.

Hope you find this approach helpful.

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