9 March 2012

Revisions, revisions, revisions. Do they ever end? How do you revise?



Seriously, has any Author, seasoned or otherwise, ever gotten through a MS from start to finish without making a mistake? Probably, maybe, nah, I doubt it. We don't all have a genie waiting to transform our mistake-ridden first draft into a master piece--at least I don't, so here's how I revise.

I once read not to stop and revise until the end of a MS, as the interruption hinders the flow. I couldn't imagine ignoring mistakes as I stumble upon them, as it would hinder my thought process. I find revising/rereading as I go, allows what I've just written to anchor more firmly in my mind, therefore, taking more knowledge with me to the next scene. The moment I see that I've made a mistake, I cease writing, fix, and then reread. I may reread a chapter 4/5 times before I'm satisfied enough to move on to the next. And even then, that chapter will need many more revisions as the story progresses.

Hurray! I've made it to the 'happily ever after'--or not. Does this mean I'm finished? I wish. Now I give my creation, which I've devoted months, maybe even years to, a good reread out loud, (maybe twice). This method allows me to find those awkward sections I seem to skip over when skimming silently through. Note: At first your family may think you’ve lost your mind, but they soon get used to hearing your monotone voice droning out hours upon hours of words that make no sense to them, and they'll love you anyway.

Now I sit on my master piece and wait...well not literally. Chill out a week or so. Vaca to Bora Bora. In the mean time, while you catch up on life—(What! My sister had a baby last month?) get others to read, and stress how important it is for them to point out your mistakes. My readers never do. I can only assume they are so enthralled with the most amazing story they've ever read that they don't notice any. After you’ve spent a week getting acquainted with your month-old niece/nephew—and reacquainted with the rest of your family, read/revise again. You want your MS to be as polished as your manicure before sending it to agents/publishers.

This is the process that works best for me. You can never reread/revise enough. Incidentally, don’t even ask how many times I’ve reread/revised this post. Find any mistakes? I bet you do!

Happy writing, revising!

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