Revising has got to be one of the most humbling experiences you ever go through as a writer. It causes you to relive some of the roller coaster emotions you experienced while writing the draft. Not to mention a new bevy of feelings that come from rereading your own work. It is not an easy process to handle and there are a variety of tactics that writers employ when revising their own work. No one method fits all.
After ending November with over 100k in words on my first draft of The Broken Covenant project, I spent a few more weeks until I got to a satisfactory stopping point. Once there I let the document rest for about three weeks as I handled the holidays and removed my mind from the constant thought of the next word to write or the story to tell. It did me good to have the distraction of family and obligation through December and the start of January. When I picked my draft back up I saw it with a fresh set of eyes.
So far my emotions have ranged from impressed at some of the ideas I put down on paper to disgusted at the plot holes and horrid writing. While the old me would have thrown the dang thing out a window by now, I have gotten to the point that I can tell myself that it is simply part of the process and push through to the end. At least I hope I can!
My method has evolved in some ways and has stayed the same in others. I still prefer the red pen method for grammatical issues and marking up what needs to be fixed. I also use a blue pen for marking up plot thoughts, story notes or anything that is not directly connected to the text structure itself. I utilize post-it notes along with keeping track of both my time and chapters as I complete them. It may be a little old school to print it out and mark it up, but that tactile feeling of writing down what needs to be fixed is something that helps me ingrain better habits.
The newer parts of my method include forcing myself not to immediately get on the computer and start fixing things a chapter at a time. I have also added a project notebook section where I write down thoughts, ideas, and notes about each chapter as I go through them. This makes sure these thoughts are not lost on the actual page of edits but has a place I can go back through and see what applies to what. These additions have helped me stay focused and still have a place for my random tangential thoughts.
So far I am nearly done with the Part 1 of 4 of my novel draft. It has been a roller coaster of red and blue marks everywhere. I am beginning to understand that the formerly mentioned method of a five draft novel is fitting me more and more. My first draft seems to be my dump draft and my second looks like I am going to be making sure everything story wise is in some kind of order once I finish this first revision. I thought I’d hate it like I used to. But thus far this has been a very enlightening experience and has me excited to see what I can fix and how much better my second draft can be.
What is your method of revision? Or how is your revision going? We’d love to hear from you below!