Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Work Ahead (Revising)

While drafting is more about getting in the mood, revision is more like showing up for work. Lots of light, sit at the keyboard, and work. Just as if you were performing a work task, there are steps for revision.

While different methods works for different folks, my own methods include several concise, repeatable steps.

To set the office-type atmosphere for revision (thanks Kat Duncan for your guidance), I ensure the following:
  • Lots of light (overhead lighting plus lamps)
  • No music playing
  • No special scents
  • Revision Checklist front and center
  • Colored pens and highlighters at the ready
  • Cathy Yardley's Rock Your Revisions at hand

My revision steps include:
  1. Print out entire manuscript
  2. Mark blatant grammar errors that scream for attention
  3. Read manuscript
  4. Highlight margins of manuscript where the story lags
  5. Focus on and read individual chapter
  6. Mark up hard copy
  7. Edit chapter on screen
  8. Run Spell Check
  9. Run MyWriter Tools
  10. Apply changes using MyWriter Tools suggestions
  11. Perform layering editing (add environmental details, senses, reaction to POV character, sentence details)
  12. Focus on and check off items on Revision Checklist (scene anchoring; scene review; scene details; levels of carrying, worry, conflict, and interest; and pacing) [Revision Checklist blog post forthcoming]
  13. Paste chapter into AutoCrit and run analysis
  14. Address AutoCrit categories (overused words, sentence variation, cliches & redundancies, repeated words & phrases, pacing, dialog, initial pronouns, readability, and homonyms) in chapter
  15. Run MyWriter Tools again
  16. Apply changes using MyWriter Tools suggestions again
  17. Run Spell Check again
  18. Move on to next chapter
Lots of steps and a tad tedious, but the process works, and this writer gal's working the revision process!

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