Welcome back friends.
Last week we celebrated the completion of NaNoWriMo. I mentioned revising our work. So, this week, I am giving you my revision process. I
stole borrowed elements of this process from the master of manuscription, the sultan of script Stephen King.
In his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Mr. King details his method of revising a book. Here’s what I came up with:
- Upon finishing the first draft, set it aside and let it simmer. Time away from the project will allow you to get it out of your head and come back with a fresh set of eyes. The length of simmering time depends on the length of the project. For me, if it is flash fiction or a short story, I give it three days. If it is a novel or novella then I give it three weeks or so.
- When it’s time, I print out the entire MS, get a notebook, highlighter, red pen and black pen. I read through the MS and do the following:
- Highlight all misspelled words or grammatical errors.
- I use the proofreading marks to make sure I capture all of the mistakes (red pen)
- Using the notebook and black pen, I make written comments in the notebook of what needs to be removed, changed, researched or re-written. I use a method of the chapter # and the note #. It looks something like this: C5,N12. I do this through the entire MS.
- When I complete the MS. I set it aside for 1 week, then go through the revision process using my laptop and all of the notes. This I do slowly to make sure all is well. Once completed, I set it aside for another 3 weeks and work on another project.
- Repeat step 2
- Repeat step 3
- My next step is to put the entire MS into Grammarly.com (this requires a monthly, quarterly or yearly subscription) and edit it this way. Grammarly.com helps really well with line editing and proofing.
- Once completed, I contact Beta Readers and send them the MS. I only use up to 5 Beta Readers. I give them 6 weeks to read and return their comments. Once I have them all, I go through them and change what I agree needs to be changed.
- This step is dependant upon whether the book is going to be self published or traditionally as well as whether or not it is a short story going to a magazine. If to a magazine, I submit it and go from there. If self-published, I will send it to an editor because I’m not self-publishing a book and it’s jacked up. If I am working with a traditional publisher, then I will send it on to them.
All of these revision steps can be repeated, they can be changed. It’s all up to you.
I will caution you, though. Do not allow fear to let you get caught staying in the revision phase. If you take too much time to revise, you will eventually edit the ms to death.
Do you have a revision process for your NaNoWriMo project? If so, please share some of it. Who knows, you might be able to help someone else who is struggling with the revision and editing process.
Join me next week for my final post of the year.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!