Saturday, January 7, 2012

MS Revision is GO!

I've been thinking about it for a long time, revising my 76,786 word manuscript. I'm a pantser (which means I write without outlines, and meander my way into brilliance as I go) but this means I have to edit what I've written afterward for consistency and cohesiveness. I also edit like mad as I write. Can't help it. Then I edit a chapter set (1-3 chapters or so) when I finish it. And so on, until I'm finished with the novel. After I've finished, I'm loathe to go back into that vast pile of words and polish it again. (I'm sure you can understand why.)

But! After querying some at the end of last year and facing more queries this year, I think it's time I took another look at my beloved first novel. I'm taking suggestions and critiques into account as I read through, and hopefully I can improve it.

To tell you the truth, I don't think there's anything wrong with my novel. I think the edits and revisions I'll have to make will be minor, tweaks here and there, some clarifying or adding details. I just get daunted by the word count.

Here is my revision method.

1. To get myself inspired I do something very active before sitting down to revise. In this case it was dance around my dining room like a whirling dervish, listening to oldies... like this one:

2. Then I make sure the cats are fed, the family otherwise occupied, and any other distractions removed. My distractions include: cat demanding to be played with, family calling or dropping by, errands demanding to be run, belly demanding food, Facebook demanding I chat on it. You get the picture.

3. I break out the Word file, and turn off any distracting music (or tune into something more peaceful) and start my read-through. I also have to have a drink and a snack of choice around so that I don't need to keep getting up when I get the munchies. (It's good to take bathroom breaks before you start.)

Are you daunted by revising? Do you have a revision method? What are your distractions?


  1. Oh, man, revision. I'm really good at line edits and making the story flow better. But actual changes to the plot--like big chunks that upset the whole story... I wasted my first three days of revision just trying to figure out what I was doing.

    Sounds like you're good to go though. Good luck!

  2. I think of revisions like housecleaning. I absolutely loathe both activities. While revising I'm usually pounding my head against something and asking myself why I decided to be a writer in the first place. But then a feeling of accomplishment begins to take over (or hopefully it does) and it's like taking a big whiff of Lemon Pledge and looking over a shiny, clean room. And then it's all worth it! Good luck on yours!

  3. I am daunted by revisions but I do like the sound of your methods.

  4. Rain, right now I'm mostly line editing this. I think it doesn't need major editing. But if it does, I'm sure an editor or agent can tell me later. Thanks!

    Suze, yes, they are. Accomplishment is a great feeling and it is worth it in the end! Thanks!

    Nancy, thanks. I definitely understand being daunted by revisions!


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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