Everyone approaches it differently, everyone struggles with it to varying degrees. Recently I completed a revision pass on a manuscript and after madly googling revision planning, scouring author websites for all their tips and tricks, sending out emails to writer contacts and chatting it over with my critique partners, I came up with a plan.
First, I started by pulling apart the revision notes I had received. What were they looking for? Why did they ask for that? How much did I need to change – small twists or huge chunks?
Having a plan made it pretty fun, I knew I was making the manuscript better! So I poured the coffee, set up my spreadsheet and got cracking.
I worked out where I needed to add scenes to give the manuscript the depth it needed. I opened up a new word document and created page markers with short descriptions of scenes and sequences that I felt needed adding.
After that, I worked my way through the manuscript, page by page to see where I could add or take away text to streamline and focus the scenes. There was a danger of losing the pacing, so I kept an eye on that whilst I pulled it to bits.
If you’re a writer, you’ll have had this feeling during the revision process. The point at which you don’t know if you’ve made it better…or broken it completely. When I hit that wall, I panicked a bit, took a deep breath (drank more coffee) then plowed on.
Eventually, I had a manuscript that was longer, yet had more of the detail and information it lacked before. The characters felt more real, the descriptions were more true to my voice than before.
So I did a final line edit, checking for little mistakes, errors and anything that didn’t flow quite right.
And after that….I checked it again.
I would probably still be checking it and rechecking it again now if I hadn’t asked my lovely critique partners for feedback, then tweaked and changed from their comments.
Then edited it again to get it how I wanted it.
So this is what I’ve learnt from the process…
It’s worth taking your time over. No need to rush! If you give yourself little pauses during the process, it will give your brain time to catch up.
You’ll probably hate it at some point. Then love it! Then want to chuck it out of the window. This is normal. Pour more coffee.
If you have to delete a whole section? It’s ok. You’ll rewrite it much better tomorrow.
And never be afraid to hit ‘The End’ and really mean it. Have courage.
Hope you’re all enjoying your writing journey!