I’m making slow progress with my novel revisions

I’ve posted all the comments from my novel’s beta readers on the wall, I’ve posted the entire novel on the wall, and I’m working through the comments by scribbling page after page with yellow marker and red pen. I use the yellow marker to highlight where I explain and/or use expository language to tell rather than show (a lesson learned from the Writers Digest tutorial, Revise for Publication: Revision Strategies That Will Improve Any Draft). And, I’m actually rewriting with the red pen, with special emphasis on clearing up inconsistencies – like one of my characters has a black bushy beard in one scene and a light brown beard in another – improving on the quality of my verbs, and further developing my characters - while making sure I describe them consistently throughout. I storyboarded my memoir when I worked on its revisions as well. However, this time I actually saved time, wall space, and printing costs by reducing the size of the book to  single space rathe … [Read more...]

Novel revision next steps

I’ve finished the big read of my novel, made brief notes in my notebook – not on the book itself – to remind myself what inconsistencies and repetitions I’ve found, and I’ve hung the whole book, page by page, on six by eight foot, quarter inch foam board panels on my hall wall. (I used Moore aluminum push pins. And by the way, each board has space for thirty 8-1/2 x 11-inch sheets, which allows me some room to grow). Now I’m ready for the next step: i.e., experimenting with first person narrative. I am going to see if I can rewrite a couple scenes in first person. If that works I'll take on the job of rewriting the whole book in first person. If not, I’ll move on to Part Two of my novel revision process: rewriting and fleshing out the later chapters of the book to catch them up to the level of the first eleven chapters, which I’ve worked over several times already. Then I’ll start the real revision, starting at the top. It looks like I have months of wor … [Read more...]

My memoir revision process

Since I’ve been on the topic of revision, I thought I’d share the revision process I followed while getting my memoir ready for publication. I eagerly took on the task of editing and revising my memoir manuscript. I had spent many years editing and rewriting proposals to the U.S. Government, and I used much of this experience to revise my book. One of the first lessons I learned on that job was to plan before doing, and that was the first thing I did before embarking on my rounds of revisions. Here’s my process. 1. Create a revision plan. I created a revision plan based on my publisher’s and first reader’s notes. Once I buy-in from my publisher to this plan, I was ready to get to work. 2. Don’t edit as you write. Write, wait a while, then edit: Leave your work alone for as long a time as you can before sitting down to edit it. While I spent over two years querying agents and small presses, my manuscript laid dormant. So when I finally got my book contract, I read it … [Read more...]