Revising is another essential part of the writing process, and although some people like to use editing as an interchangeable term for both editing and revising, it is a separate thing altogether.
Personally, I prefer to revise my work after I have edited my first draft; however, I have heard of people revising while they edit – which in my opinion, just makes things unnecessarily complicated. Whichever method you choose though, it is something that must be done, and nobody is exempt because nobody produces a perfectly written first draft.
Just as in all other aspects of writing, every writer has his or her own way of getting the job done, and because there are so many different routes leading to the end goal, I will just focus on my personal process.
For me, revising a story is a daunting task, to say the least. It is hard work enough getting the first draft finished between procrastination and finding motivation, let alone going through the finished draft with a fine-toothed comb during the editing process. But I know that it must be done, and because I know how much work goes into writing the second draft, I like to make things a little easier for myself.
I always begin with a checklist of tasks that I need to complete during my revision. I use the same list every time, and if I can tick off each item as I go, I can keep track of my progress which helps to push me along.
The first item on my list is story. I open up a notebook and grab a pen, then I pick up my manuscript and read through the whole thing, making sure that the story actually makes sense.
As I go, I check for any plot holes or parts that don’t make sense or just don’t need to be there. A notebook is essential because there will no doubt be plenty of errors or things that need to be changed and usually far too many to simply keep in my head.
The next item on the list is character, and this requires another read through (again, with my notebook handy to keep track of all the changes I’ll need to make).
I ensure that all of the characters are as believable as I can make them and that they have completed their arcs; that their storylines and relationships are all tied up at the end and that the main characters have shown some development throughout the story and that they have been changed by the challenges they have faced.
Once I’m convinced that the characters are rounded out enough, I do another read through focusing on the next item on the list, conflict.
I try to make sure that there is enough conflict to keep the story moving forward so that the reader doesn’t get bored. I also make sure that the stakes are high enough to propel the character through the story.
Lastly, I perform one last read through, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. When I’m sure I’ve done all I can, I turn to my notebook and see if anything can be added to any of my notes.
Having done that, I put my work aside and take a break for a day or two and focus on something else or perhaps work on a different project.
As I tick off each item on the list, I take a break. Revising is hard work, and depending on the length of your project, it can be an incredibly long process too. If I didn’t take a break between each task, I think I would get bored very quickly in having to re-read the work over and over again.
Something to remember is that your story will begin to bore you during this process, and you will lose that little spark of excitement you get when a great idea slowly turns into a manuscript.
It is perfectly normal for this to happen. You just have to power through and know that the excitement will come back and that your story is only boring you because you have had to read it twenty billion times to get it right.
As always, thank you very much for reading I appreciate your valuable time.
Until next time,