Monday, September 27

10 Things You Should Know While Revising

Hello all! So today I thought I'd talk about things you should keep in mind when revising.

1. One of the most important things to remember is that not everything will happen according to your plan/schedule. Set realistic goals for yourself. Don't worry about how long it took your critique partners to revise their manuscripts. Don't even worry about how long it'll take you to revise. Simply sit down and do it.

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2. I know this one can sometimes be difficult for writers, but ask for help. If you happen to be stuck on something, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you don't have critique partners / beta readers, get yourself some right now. No writer can do this solo (IMO). At some point, every writer needs feedback.

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3. While revising, you're going to find words you tend to use over and over again. When I did revisions, my biggest one was "jump." Except for one or two, I deleted all of them. I'd suggest you do the same. Along the same lines, the word "that" is a word often used but not needed. Do a search and destroy for repetitive & unnecessary words.

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4. In my opinion, the quickest way to kill a story is passive voice. Most people claim passive voice gives them a lyrical edge. This is not true. I know it's really difficult to break out of the habit, but it can be done. It just takes a lot of practice and some gumption. My first two stories were packed full of passive voice. It was hard to accept that I had a problem (lol) but I've since learned how to spot them. You can too! If you are having troubles, the best way to find passive voice is to look for the "was"  "ing" pairings. Of course, there are many others, but one step at a time =)

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5. SDT (show don't tell). While I am a big advocate of this, I also believe you can over show. There are times when you can simply say, "She gave him a coy glance." rather than the whole spiel on her exact facial expression. Part of writing a book is finding the balance between showing and telling. Readers don't always want or need to know everything.

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6. Be prepared to kill your darlings. I don't care how clean your first draft is, you will need to delete a lot and change even more.

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7. Go into revisions with a critical eye and keep it throughout the whole process. If it helps, pretend it's someone else's story you're critiquing.

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8. At several points in revision, you'll want to quit. When that time hits, stop and take a deep breath. Spend a few days away from the story. It'll help, I promise.

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9. Revisions are the time to get nitpicky. While you may have let things slide in the first draft, you can't let them slide now. Even if it seems like you have a dozen huge issues on each page, you need to fix them.

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10. Lastly, this isn't going to be your final draft. It took me 6 rounds of revisions before I decided it was ready to query. And I know it's not going to be the final draft. If I get an agent, they'll likely want to make edits. Same with an editor.

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If you have any questions just let me know! I'd be glad to go into more detail if you need me to. Tomorrow (Tuesday), I will be talking about how to Critique With Tact, so be sure to stop by!

8 comments:

  1. Great tips. I'm learning a lot but going forward. I've had my ups and downs and will have more but I will get there.
    Thanks.

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  2. *groans* I'm going to be revising forever!

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  3. Great post! Thank you! I'm eyeball-deep in revisions right now and could use a few poiters! :)

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  4. *nods* What Tina said;)

    Great list Nat! I need to bookmark this post (cause you know how my memory is lately).

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  5. Those are perfect revising tips, Natalie - every single one! :-)

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  6. Christine- Thanks! Yes you will! Revision can be fun once you get used to it.

    Tina- Lol no you wont love. *hugs*

    Meika- Thanks! I'm glad I could help =)

    Mel- Lmao. You two are goofy. Thanks love. LOL! You and me both Mel, you and me both.

    Shannon- Aww thank you =)

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