It’s Writer Tips Wednesday! This week’s post is short because me and my family have been ill.

Revising won’t happen over night. In fact, it’s a pretty lengthy process. You’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of time to do it properly.

To do it properly,  you should set the manuscript aside until you’re no longer attached to the story, or characters. Could be a week, a month, or a year. Place it aside for however long it takes. It’s vital to look at it with fresh eyes, and in editing mode, instead of writing mode.

When you do pull it out, decide which area to focus on first.  {Scene structure, plot & story telling, characterization, punctuation & grammar, dialogue, sentence structure, ect.}

Personally, I like to start with scene structure, and sentence structure. I go through each scene, one at a time and make sure the flow is smooth and the transitions appear normal. Varying sentence structures is a part I find the most difficult. I know it’s supposed to be easy, but for me it seems so mundane and is my least fave part.

Next, I’ll go through and only look at characterization. I adore watching the characters grow through their experiences and discover their true selves, and inner strengths.

Then the plot as a whole, and the dialogue. Word usage goes last, along with the punctuation, and grammar round.

So a minimum of four rounds to revise my manuscripts. I find it tremendously helpful to color code things each round. {Red for thoughts, blue for spoken dialogue, and pink for actions.} I know, I’m weird. :P  I do the macro edits first, and the micro edits second. I also have several critique groups everything goes through before I even think about.

 
Okay, your turn. What are some of your favorite tricks to make revisions easier? Do you color code? Which areas do you find the most difficult to tackle? Which is the easiest?

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About kittyb78

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung-Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style, and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon-lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing, especially Young Adult Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Favorite personal quote: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

11 responses »

  1. Gerri Bowen says:

    I do a quick read and mark down the page number where something makes me pause. I do not fix it at that time, but keep reading until the end. Then I go back.

    • kittyb78 says:

      That’s a great idea Gerri! :) Do you just make side notes like what page and paragraph? Or do you go further and write a note about what needs changed and why it isn’t working?

  2. My editing has evolved over time. I’m hoping this time it takes fewer drafts before it’s ready to query. At least I’m getting smarter so I don’t make the same mistakes I made last time.

    I didn’t used to like to set my ms aside, but I have discovered it does make a huge difference.

    Great post, Catrina.

    • kittyb78 says:

      Hi Stina, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. :)
      We’re all learning as we go. Revisions are a necessary pain in the neck, lol. In the end, we will have a stronger MS for it. Feel free to return any time.

  3. Jeff Dawson says:

    You would be correct about it being a mundane exercies, necessary, but mundane. I’m curenntly working a SCI/FI novel with an new author. After five months, the first draft is ready. I tole him when we started, the easy part was writing the story, now comes the work. I told him severla times to stop enjoying the story and start reading it with a discerning eye. Two months later he’s catching on. He stopped being exhuberant his idea was on paper and is now undestanding it’s time to look for the pitfalls.

    We will go back and re-read the entire manusciript with a red pen or two in hand and start attaking what we created. When those issues have been fleshed out, it will be time for round two. and another full fleshing. We will then address the characters, their believabliity and the plot line itself

  4. Jeff Dawson says:

    Once the above is completed, then and only then will the editor get a copy

    Computers working again. I like your idea of different highligting through the manscript. I just might use that on the next one.

    • kittyb78 says:

      Hi Jeff, lovely to hear from you. :)
      That’s awesome. I’m sure you two will have a much stronger MS by the end of all that. Good luck with all your writing endeavors.
      It may seem a bit silly, but highlighting really makes things jump out.
      Feel free to return any time, and thanks for commenting. :)

  5. angelaackerman says:

    Stepping back from a manuscript is so important! I always look forward to the time they sit untouched. The longer I’m away from it, the clearer my perspective is!

    So sorry you and your family have been sick..I hope you are all on the mend!

    Angela

    • KittyB78 says:

      Thank you. It’s mainly the drastic temperature changes. lower to mid 80′s day time and low 40′s at night. That’s a huge drop for a short time period. Flip flopping like that always gets at least a couple of us ill.

      Cayenne pepper tea, and rest keeps us on the mend. :)

  6. [...] one positive I’ve had so far is discovering a useful revision summary by KittyB78. It doesn’t tell me how to revise but it does give some things to look for, such [...]

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