Monday, July 9, 2012

A Revised Plan for Revision

Some months back I detailed my main way of editing and revising my novel.  It works well when I am focusing on the individual parts.  But the novel has to work as a unified whole and that was getting lost so in addition to the process I described using my Kindle to read and enter comments, here's a few extra steps you might want to take.

At some point in your revision process, say after you've got five or ten chapters or say ten or twenty pages or more, stop what you are doing and go back a re-read the book from the beginning the way the reader would.

I like to read it slowly because I'm looking for anything that is missing or is inconsistent or simply wrong, like the word that I forgot to include.  Sometimes I let the computer read it to me so I can listen. My ears proof my work better than my eyes because my ears almost never hear my writing; my eyes see it all the time and are easily fooled.

Have a listen to some chapters I stop and think about what's missing, do I have all the character reactions I need, is there a vague point that I can clarify, can I place the reader more concretely in the story?  All of these things matter and all get my attention.

I did this for Book 2 over the weekend to see how well it holds together and I was surprised to see it works pretty well.  Oh there were some adjustments to me made, but not many.  Well, not so far, but I'm not quite done revising yet.

The one drawback to this method is it requires a good chuck of time without interruptions.  So if your environment is chaotic, you might want to wait.  But once you start you want to proceed to the end so that you can experience your book in its entirety.

I chose a good place to stop work yesterday, a natural breaking point in the story, but I need to resume today for several hours so I can reach the next breaking point.  This is hard because I have other demands on my time too.  But I'll do the best I can and hope it works out or I push a bunch of stuff off to the side and make time so that I can complete this work and then hop over to the edits from my publisher on Book 1 once more before it goes back for a second round of editing.

Keep writing everyone.

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