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.