Dec 12, 2010

Ezmirelda On Writing: Revising

Nanowrimo has ended and now I and about a million other people have an unedited newly written novel in their hands that needs some serious work done to it. Everyone has different ways that work for them when they’re revising so I thought I’d share my own.

Step 1- Waiting and Doing Nothing

The first thing I do when I’m done with my WIP is to wait about a month before I look at it again. I distract myself with books, and maybe even move on to another project I’ve put aside previously. The reason is because when you look at your book you want to be able to look at it with fresh eyes. My eyes glaze over a lot of mistakes after I’ve read over a chapter so many times I practically have it memorized. Time away from the book will help you see mistakes more clearly—at least for me it does.

Step 2- Plot Revamp

Next I go through it and try to find plot holes. I try to make sure all the events are in the right place and help the story move forward. If there are scenes/chapters that do not move the story forward or support the main conflict then I take them out no matter how much I loved it. I don't delete it though, I just put it in a word document I call Outakes.

Step 3- Character Repairs

Then I go and make sure all the characters are in character. I make sure that if they have hazel eyes and blond hair in the first chapter that they don’t end up with brown eyes and blue hair in chapter 7.

Step 4- Rewriting…A lot

Step 4 happens even in steps 2-3. Sometimes I add more to a chapter or just end up re-writing it entirely.

Step 5- Grammar

I fix grammar and spelling errors last—the reason being is that while I’m doing so much rewriting it would be kind of pointless for me to fix spelling mistakes. Chances are it was going to be changed anyways. I try to make this one of the very last things I have to do.

Step 6- Talking to Myself

This step earns me a number of stares from people. I read my book out loud to myself when it’s done. I catch the strangest things that my eyes didn’t pick up that my ears did. It really works!

You can also print it out. This is just a more visual method than one above but I don’t do it as often.

Step 7- Beta get a Beta

After painstaking amounts of editing, and revising  I send my book out to betas; preferably people I know will give me HONEST feedback and constructive criticism.

So do you have a specific way of revising your WIP? I'd love to hear it.


  1. I think this looks like a GREAT process! It is largely how I intend to do it, though I can't help myself on a 'type/grammar/verbage' fix to start--I can't seem to read it otherwise. But OTHER than that, this is what I try to do, too. One recommendation--while you are 'waiting' is a good time to see if you have a friend who needs a read. Somehow giving a beta read for somewhere else turns ON your editor and helps you detatch from your own work, so it's great timing for that.

  2. I love your process. My NanoWriMo novel is my first novel so I've never really done revisions for a large piece (only short stories). I decided to also step away from my Nano piece for a little while. It's good to see how others tackle revisions since it can be such a daunting task.

  3. @Hart- I agree that editing for others does help alot while you're in waiting mode! And I have been editing quite a bit lately now that I'm not in nano mode anymore. ;)

    @ Raquel- Really your first? That's awesome. I remember the first book I wrote-to put it lightly it was a great big mess. I think I was about 10 years old, and the majority of it remains in 3 spiral bounded notebooks.

    I just realized you guys are both nanowrimoners! Good luck with revisions to the both of you! ;)

  4. I've only revised one novel, so I don't have a specific process yet. It will be a combination of Holly Lisle's One Pass Revision, and my own method of rewriting. I'm also planning on reading parts of it out loud, especially dialogue.

    Changing the appearances of characters halfway through the novel happens to me a lot. I think I even changed a character's race once. I'm just too lazy to go back and figure out what the character's hair color was, so I just choose whatever I want. :)

    Thanks for this post!

  5. I have big issues with revising, and reading about how you go about revising your stories has made the whole process seem a little less mystical. Thanks for the prospective.


  6. @ Brittany & Blogger Girlz- No problem. There's actually a whole lot of other things I do but it's kind of hard to explain because i do it in my subconcious.


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