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Monday, June 1, 2015

Making Revision Fun

From that title you're probably already thinking I'm crazy. Well, I am a bit perhaps. But that's beside the point. Revision can be fun, if you did your job with the rough draft, and by that, I mean lined out the character arcs and did a rough outline. It helps eliminate plot holes and dead spots.

When the last word is written we all know the book is far from finished. If you're dreading the revision process it's going to suck because you've already set it up to. However, if you look at it as an opportunity to enrich your novel and add depth and dimension to it, then the process can be fun if you've done your prep work.

I'm horrible about setting it aside, but this must be done. I do my best not look at it for at least a week. If you can go longer do so. And I applaud you if you can. I cannot because I love the revision process and that's like putting a non-fat double tall hazelnut mocha in front of me and saying, 'don't drink it.' This part is important because you have to remove yourself from the story so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.

Here is my process:


  • Character arc read through and fix. Not just the main character, but the supporting ones as well. I refer back to the character arc line I wrote prior to starting the novel to do this.
  • Plot hole/thread tying read through and fix. I refer to my outline while doing this. 
  • Flow and pacing read through. Using my outline, I check my WIP to see which chapters are action and which aren't to ensure the pace is even and doesn't stall out. 
  • Voice. I read through to ensure the characters 'voices' all remain the same and are unique. 
  • Grammar and structure. I do a final read through to ensure the grammar is good and the sentence structures are all smooth and varying.
  • Read aloud. You can catch all manner of things this way and I highly recommend it.  

After all that, and only after all that, I finally send it on to my beta readers. However you do it and wherever, enjoy the whole journey. Join us tonight at 6:00 pm PST for a chat on editing tonight on Twitter with the #WritersRoad hashtag.

5 comments:

  1. Revisions are tough and these are definitely great tips for making it a little easier and more fun. Sorry I missed the chat, crazy dojo schedule :) Looks like it was great, as always.

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    1. Thanks Yelena, sorry we missed you too!

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  2. For the final polish, I read it starting with the last chapter. You see flaws in the chapter's structure you don't see when going with the flow of the story. Those are some great ways to revise. :-)

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    1. That's an excellent idea, Roland! I might have to try that.

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  3. Odd you should talk about this, since I've begun working on my older vampire novel which I went and rewrote last year, and now am doing revisions. Got to a later section that needed more than tweaking.

    I like your tips, Heather. Thanks!

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