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Monday, May 10, 2010

Revision Week: How I Tackle Them

Doctor Who was awesome this weekend. I can't wait for the next one!! It looks like it's going to be EPIC.

Revisions. Some people love them. And some people hate them. But anyone that wants to be published and even some that don't have to go through them. Everyone has their own way of dealing with revisions. This week is Revision Week. I'm going to talk about how I deal with revisions, and then two of my fabulous guest bloggers will share their methods. =D So let's go!

I like to tackle things in clearly defined steps and revisions are no exception.

Step One: Read through the entire story and make a list of revision suggestions. These could be anything from a character's eye color changing to an overused phrase to a scene that needs to be expanded to an entire character that needs to be removed. Take note of everything. I like to organize mine by category. For example: changes that are chapter specific, and scenes that need to be expanded. (For someone who's room looks like it's been hit by a small tornado, I'm surprisingly organized with my revisions.)

Step Two: Divide the word document into separate documents, one for each chapter. This is incredibly time-consuming but for some reason I have trouble making chapter-specific changes in one whole document. You can probably skip the division part unless you want to do it. I'm just weird. This also allows me to see how long each chapter is and to easily combine or split chapters. Do the chapter-specific revisions now.

Step Three: Put the chapters back together into one document and make the bigger picture revisions.

Step Four: Send to first-round betas. When their comments come back, read and take note of all of them. Make a list of all their suggestions and work your way through them. Consider everything and discard what you don't agree with. (Though make a good argument for why you don't agree with that change.)

Step Five: Take out the garbage. Make a list of all the words and phrases you want to look out for and do a check for them. Delete any that aren't necessary.

Step Six: Give the manuscript a final polish. Tackle any last minute changes. Check grammar and spelling. Make sure everything's as shiny as you can possibly make it.

Step Seven: (optional) Send to last round betas and repeat step four with their comments. You'll probably want first-round betas to give you mostly big picture revisions and second-rounders to look mostly at grammar and structure.

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