Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing Process VI: Revisions & Line Edits

After I receive the lovely feedback from my even lovelier betas, I sift through it and decide what major changes I need to make. Plot holes, continuity errors, unclear character motivations-- all that good stuff. However, I don't make the changes right away.

I take a short break from my novel and I let their feedback and suggestions settle in my brain. If one points out a plot hole, I brainstorm how to fill that plot hole. If one says that they didn't get why character x was in love with character y, then I think about how to fix that. Should I add a scene? Tweak a scene? What do I need to do to make this clear to the reader?

During this time I like to read a lot of books. See how other authors do it. Analyze their books and figure out what works, and how they make it work so well. Or, if the book I happen to chose is especially horrid, what makes it so bad? And how do I avoid that in my novel?

When I've figured out how to fix all the problems, I make a list of rewrites/changes. Then I tackle them ONE AT A TIME. Sometimes this is pretty easy, like if it's just one scene that needs to be rewritten. But if I need to change something that affects an entire storyline then I need to follow it through the whole story and make sure it's coherent.

After I finish all my revisions/rewrites, I do a line edit, making sure each and every sentence is as good as possible. Then I make sure the transitions between sentences are as good as possible. Then I make sure every paragraph is as good as possible. Then the paragraph transitions. You get the idea. Basically I make sure everything is shiny and polished and perfect and flows.

This stage takes the longest. Well, except maybe the first drafting stage, but that's because I really know how to procrastinate.

When I'm all done, I send my novel off to another round of betas, at least one who's already read it, and at least one who hasn't. If the one who's already read it likes it better, then mission accomplished! If the one who had not yet read it doesn't point out the problems other betas had previously mentioned, then mission accomplished!

If they point out any other issues I start back at the beginning, but hopefully the story works and any other/new problems are really minimal.

While all this is going on, I'm working on another step... The Query Letter!

How do you revise?

I do everything on the computer, even though it gets really tiring after a while. I'd love to print out pages and do paper edits, but it's just too expensive! I need a laser printer :)



  1. I'm so jealous. I want to be at this stage with my novel. It makes me ever more eager to work on my re-write so that I can be. =D Excellent points you have there. I can't wait to put them into action when I get to a similar stage.

  2. For my first novel I printed out each draft. Muy expensive! Now I do it mostly on the computer.

    And yeah, I'm pretty bad with the procrastination during the first draft. ;)