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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RTW: Approaching Revisions

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This week's topic: 
For many, December is a post-NaNoWriMo revision haze! How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?
I'm in the midst of revising right now (a project that is not my NaNo) so this subject is definitely on my mind. Here are three random tips that I like to use: 

1. Break it down
I break my manuscript into chapters and scenes and then, using Scrivener's notecards, I summarize each scene and chapter so that I can see how things progress. even if you don't have Scrivener, you can use a bulleted on a separate document or Post-It notes on a corkboard (this also works well to make a calender to check for timeline issues).

It makes it easier for you to see where information is revealed, any places the pacing slows down, and how the plot progresses. For manuscripts with multiple points of view, I find it helpful to break them down by PoV character so that I can keep track of where everyone is and make sure that nothing gets tangled.

2. Do a preliminary read before starting revisions
Before you make any changes, give the manuscript a complete read-through. Don't make any changes here, just take notes. I keep a "revision letter" on a separate document of all the large things that I need to fix. This might include character motivations, plot changes, pacing problems, removal or addition of characters, new scenes that should be added, worldbuilding issues, things that need to be clarified, and any other enveloping changes. I also take notes on the document of smaller things like typos, awkward sentence structure, grammar issues, unrealistic dialogue, and other line-by-line issues. 

3. Get betas
A fresh pair of eyes will look at your manuscript in a whole new way and catch things that you, as  the writer, might miss. I recommend not sending the manuscript to them until you have made it the shiniest that you possibly can by yourself. Smaller rounds of betas make it easier to manage all the feedback and you can do multiple rounds.

3 comments:

Miss Cole said...

I like the read through without actually editing idea. You can familiarise yourself with what you've written before changing it.

Nickie said...

I have never used Scrivener, but I keep hearing good things about it. Maybe on the next story.

I do the same read-through thing without making any changes. I use OpenOffice, so I just add a note to the side where I have a question/comment. Then, when I go back through to revise, it makes it easy to point out the parts that needed some work.

beck nicholas said...

New eyes is so important. I like the idea of sending them something as best you can make it. I have one that sees the original and then a couple for once it's been mashed into shape!