The storyboards are going up again

Once I get comments and critiques back from my first round of beta readers – hopefully by mid July – I’ll start revising again. Here’s my process.

1. Take my reviewer’s suggestions as just that — suggestions. I feel it is important for an author to stay in control of his/her book. So I will review each comment and make decisions on whether to incorporate my readers’ notes or not into my next revision. If I decide not to use a comment, I’ll file it away for future reference should the need arise – I  never throw anything away. The bottom line - I am the person with the last red pen.

2. Create a revision plan. One of the first lessons I learned from my 28-year job editing and rewriting proposals to the U.S. Government was to plan before doing. And that’s what I intend to do at this point.  I will create a revision plan based on my readers’ notes – especially if major changes are suggested and if those changes affect many parts of the book.

3. Post a hard copy of my book on storyboards. I will again set up my foam storyboards (now stored in my garage) along the Storyboard 1 walls of the long hall next to my office and pin up a printed copy of the version I sent out to my beta readers. I also learned working on proposals and using storyboards during the final revision and editing stages of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, that storyboarding is a valuable tool for seeing a document all at once. My storyboards will allow me to readily spot the parts of the book that any changes will affect – scrolling on a computer just doesn’t do that for me – and will make it so much easier for me to find redundancies and inconsistencies and places that needed cutting, moving, and expanding.

4. Create a schedule with real milestones and stick to it. I always like to work to a schedule with hard and fast deadlines. I make it tight. For this revision round, I’ll give myself one month to complete incorporating my reviewers’ comments and any revisions I deem necessary, remerging the finished chapters into one document, and sending it out to my round two beta readers. I’ll then ask these new readers to finish their review in a month and a half as before. Once I get their comments I’ll repeat the revision process described above.

5. Keep going over the manuscript until satisfied.  Once I revise the manuscript based on round two beta readers’ comments, I have to decide when enough is enough. I need to ask myself what does finished really mean? Even after incorporating all relevant review comments I know I’ll still need to make just a few little changes, add just a few little things, and make just a few more edits – it’s in my nature. During the last stages of my memoir revision, I must have gone over each of the manuscript chapters at least four times or more. And, I only knew I was really finished when I stopped thinking what more I could do to the book. I know it will be the same with my novel. When I don’t have any more changes or adds or deletes or reorganization ideas left in me, when my mind stops living and breathing the book every waking moment of every day, and when I am finally comfortable letting it go, I’ll know it’s time to think about next steps: getting it professionally edited in preparation for publication.

Comments

  1. Kellee Forkenbrock says:

    Hi – thank you for the revision tips! I also read your article on Writer’s Digest – I am beginning my revision process with the first draft of my novel on January 1st. Where do you get your foam storyboards from?

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll have to do a little research and see if I can find my source. Try google in the meantime – I think that worked for me. Good luck with your novel.

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