creative writing community, craft and inspiration
There’s nothing like the excitement of starting a new work or the infatuation you might have with having written it. But professional writers are really made by the serious way they approach the revision process.
It’s important to take time with your revisions and not to rush through them just because you want to be done. Most professional writers would not dream of submitting a manuscript until it had gone through four comprehensive revisions – and sometimes more.
STEP #1 – STEP BACK
It’s good to gain some objectivity for your writing by stepping away from the work for a time – a month if you can manage it, a week if you can’t. Letting the work lie fallow for a bit will help you see its flaws more clearly.
STEP #2 – SEE THE FOREST
Read the entire manuscript for sense. Your manuscript needs to be a comprehensive whole before you can start honing in on the details. Look for the following issues, remembering that the reader isn’t in your head and doesn’t necessarily know what you know:
This stage of revision can be a challenge for writers who generally can’t see the forest for the trees at this point. You may need to cultivate an “early reader” or two, who has an eye for the arc of a story and its characters, who will tell you honestly where you are going wrong – and who will praise you when you deserve it!
Next up – Steps 3 and 4 of revision!