Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Revision – What Works for Me

Whoever said revision is what makes your book is, in my view, correct. I like to write the book quickly. I do plan the plot first, but I find that it changes as I write, and for me, that's a benefit.
However, it leaves me with a manuscript that is far from publishable.

These are the three steps I use to clean up the manuscript:

  • First, I print the book and read it as though it was a published book. I mark the places that don't work and note any corrections that leap to the eye. This usually identifies places where I lose the thread of the plot; where scenes are lovely, but don't contribute to the forward motion; and where I lose focus on the characters.
  • Second, I remove the chapters or scenes that don't work; rewrite where necessary; and add new scenes or chapters. I usually find that I have to add more than subtract. I have a tendency to race through the plot leaving out scenes that the reader needs to understand the ending.
  • Third, I do a thorough reread and make editorial changes. This is the place to fine tune wording, make sure typos are corrected and generally clean up the manuscript.

I don't know if this method would work for everyone, and I'm not completely consistent. I'll make wording changes on the first reread, if I think of them, and on the third pass, if a scene doesn't work, it goes.

The process is time consuming and makes you think of your work as if you were asked to critique someone else's, but that's the important point. Once you've finished the ecstasy of initial creation, the rest is work, and lots of it. Characters need to be consistent. Scenes need to add to the flow of the story, typos must be corrected. I find this works for me. Tell me about your revision strategies.  

1 comment:

  1. Dear Nancy,
    Happy and prosperous new year to you and your family. May the Lord enlarge your abilities in 2012 and beyond. Nancy, I will greatly appreciate if you could review the book, "Re-Created for Greatness", made available by WestBow Press-A Division of Thomas Nelson. This is a book on Christian living. The ISBN-13: 978-1449724214. Stay continually blessed of the Lord.

    Evangelist Francis Boafo, Author.