Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Some Ideas for your Revision Process

So, I'm writing a Young Adult Trilogy, and it's been in process for almost six years (with nearly three years of character development, brainstorming, co-writing, and planning before that). I know, I know, it's taking me a long time just to get through the first book (in my defense, I also have about 75% of book two written in first draft form...) And so frequently I get the question, When are you going to be done? I wish I knew! But I have to keep revising, until it feels right (or right enough that I need a new set of eyes). And I understand, there is a point when you just have to let go, but not until it's ready...

So, what is it that's taking so long, huh? Why so many revisions?? Well, revision is really a process, and maybe I go a little overboard, but if you read early drafts of Part I, and compare them to now, it's practically unrecognizable.

My revision process is one big "mess," literally, a big mess all over the floor of my bedroom (see photo!). After the first draft, I go through many different revisions, let me share a few of the techniques I go through that may help you in your revisions.

Handwritten Revisions: 
So, once I have a full draft that I feel like "might be ready," I print it out and read it all the way through. During a printed read through, things that don't jump out at you on a computer screen now become easier to see. I recommend printing it in a Serif font like Times New Roman or Georgia. This is easier on the eyes than trying to read Arial or Verdana. Use a color pen that will stand out as well -- pink, green, red. Once you've read through, you'll have to go back and enter everything back into the computer. This is a good exercise because it helps you to review everything once more as you enter them into the computer.

Electronic Device Revision:
Another way to read your book for revisions is to send your book to a device like a Kindle, or nook, or iPad. Reading this way gives you another perspective, and a new way to see errors; you can generally get the feel for your book in a different format. It's a little more difficult to notate errors/changes you'd like to make with these devices than by just writing a note with your pen. However, (at least on the Kindle) you can add notes digitally, and these notes will be saved in a separate "Notes" file on your Kindle that you can reference later, and if you click the notes,  the device will take you right to that spot in your document. Also see Kindle Text-to-Speech. 

Back to the Computer/Reading Aloud:
So, once you've done revisions on paper and device, returning back to your computer for another read through, checking the basics (as you know, one product of revision you'll find a lot of dropped words or repeated words), and making sure everything reads smoothly. Another good technique at this point is to also read aloud. You just want to be sure you are reading each word aloud, and not "filling in" any missing words. You may even want to record yourself reading, so you can hear what it sounds like back. This helps you to hear things you wouldn't normally register as you're reading on the page.

I hope some of these techniques help! Good luck with your revisions! I better get back to mine...!

6 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of the handwritten revision type. I hadn't thought about using a different colored pen, though. That's a good idea.

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    1. Yes, that way it stands out on the paper :) I like hot pink!

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  2. I love revising on paper. It might be favorite part of the writing process--crossing out, scribbling, writing comments. I sent my last book to my Kindle to read as well, so that I could read it without the temptation to fiddle with it right away. I was trying to give myself time to read and think it through.

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    1. Revising on paper really lets you get get physically into the revision. Great minds think alike! :)

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  3. I've never thought of taking my revision process to a Kindle. I do find that it's great to give it a rest and come back to it later, though. Thanks for the ideas!

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