And let me tell you, it has been a pain.
When you have a giant, sloppy mess of random plot points, plodding prose, and births of very unconnected characters, revising your novel can seem as impossible as trying to untangle a vat of cooked spaghetti. Unfortunately, this situation doesn't have any marinara sauce to make it better.
Revising has always been the most difficult part of the writing process for me. Some people have trouble getting ideas to pop into their heads. Others just can't get past a certain scene. For me, the killer has been brutally cutting up your hard-won first draft for the sake of getting the perfect piece of prose.
To be honest, I never have been one for revising. When I am about to submit a writing piece to a publication, I might do some light editing, such as changing a phrase or two, but never very concrete rewriting. Now that I've got my mom as my editor, one of the most candid people I've worked with, I've been having to do some more substantial revisions. But I've still been pretty leery about this whole “editing” thing.
However, in finally starting to edit my novel, I have found several tips that have worked very well for me, such as:
- Don't make excuses; revising is like any other hard task. You simply have to buckle down and do it.
- Tackle the big things first. If you were on a battleground, you wouldn't try to take out the scrawny wimpy soldier in the back. You'd go for the big guy with the twenty abs. Same goes for revising-- work on major things such as plot and worry about small things such as an awkward sentence later.
- Take it in manageable chunks. While it's good to work on the major parts first, I know I got overwhelmed when I tried to take the whole book at once.
- Finally, once you've finished revising, have a professional writer or avid reader go over it and give you honest critique. And once you're in your final stage, read everything aloud, whether to yourself, your cat, or even a plant. This helps you catch the typos and snag those awkward phrases.
Who knows, maybe by sticking with this whole "revising thing" I'll finally have a manuscript I can be proud of, one that I can work to land an agent for. Maybe eventually it'll get published. But whatever the case, I won't stop until this sixty-thousand word mess is sorted out as best as it can be.
*Make sure to follow me on my new Instagram @atouchofsea .