Monday, October 24, 2011

How Many Times Before I'm Through?

  What’s your favorite revision method? (I’m talking about the near-final draft revisions where a critique group or alpha readers has already given their two cents.) There’s hundreds of ways and I’m in the thick of it right now. I’d love to hear your tips and comments, your successes and horror stories.
  Do you color code things to see how action or dialogue is spaced or which character is giving the point of view? I’m a visual person but it sounds like a lot of work. Perhaps it is worth it. How many votes out there like color coding?
  Maybe you start with a search engine to filter all those naughty little words that creep in very suddenly. You know—was, that, very, suddenly. Getting rid of those critters can do a lot to clean up before the next reading.
  Checklists are valuable for thoroughness. It’s a nice feel to check off each detail but there’s so dang many of them and they suggest you comb through focusing on one at a time. I’d get sick of reading each scene one hundred times. *Sigh*
  It takes a great deal of work but I want to get it as right as possible. There’s no way I’m going to put my work out there for the public eye unless I’ve given it my best. On the other hand, I can’t spend half my life on one manuscript. They say it gets easier the more you do it . . . . Time to get back to work.


JoLyn Brown said...

My favorite way to edit is to use "find" to look for those annoying words I use without thinking. Its amazing me how much better my manuscript will get by something as simple as replacing those words.

But, a girl in my critique group said too much editing can get rid of your voice. I realized that sometimes I get so focused on fixing my sentences that my voice is gone. For me, that's when I need to stop editing;)

Renae W. Mackley said...

Good point about the voice, JoLyn. I'll have to remember that.

Stephanie Black said...

My revision system is pretty basic--just go through the whole manuscript multiple times. After the second draft, I print it out and read it through myself to see how the whole story fits together--this is a very different experience than working through it slowly! Round about the third draft, I'll make a timeline to finally settle details of what happens on what day of the week, etc. (I know I should do that earlier, but those details bore me so I tend to procrastinate them :) After the third draft, I send it out to test readers and get their feedback. I do a fourth draft, then I submit it. Of course, this is far different than my method on my first book, where I went through the whole book about seven hundred million times.

Renae W. Mackley said...

So, you're saying, Stephanie, that it gets easier or faster with each book or after a couple of books? Whew! It will be nice when I'm to that point. It was interesting to see your methods (of madness). Thanks for commenting.