Many writers DO NOT like to revise. But as most of my friends know… I’m weird. So I like to revise almost as much as I like getting a new idea down. ***almost, haha.*** The way I look at it isn’t as much as ‘revising’ but as toning my text up. Giving it some elbow grease to make it shine, kind of thing.
How I go about revising is a process I go through thoroughly. The first thing I do is go over the manuscript in my head. I will read over it one or two times. If anything jumps at me I mark it on the paper. Then I’ll go over it another time, slower. I’ll read a sentence at a time. Then a full paragraph. Again, marking as I go. Once I get to the end of my manuscript, I’ll go and make changes (usually on my computer). Then I’ll read it one more time—this time A LOUD! I’ve found that to be the key. When I’m reading silently my brain tends to fill in gaps and gives some fru-fru of its own. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT when I read it a loud, there’s NO mistaking. I may stumble or stutter over a word or a sentence won’t ring true with my ears. So, guess what I do???? I make changes as I go. I’ll reread the text again— A LOUD and see if it sounds right. Yeppers, you’re getting the picture. I’ll repeat these steps until it sounds right to my ears.
When I FINALLY get the story ‘sounding’ good then I’ll save all my changes on the pc. I usually don’t go over the other text I had saved though. I save it as “The Best Story Ever b” or something to that effect. I learned not to save over the other text the hard way. I had done that and then decided I like the way it was before better, but guess what!?! I couldn’t pull it back up because I had saved my changes over the other text. *WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!* A little help from your friendly neighborhood writer here folks… save changes as a different copy. Then I’ll print it out and set it aside for a week or two.
I think that’s the hardest part of revising. Setting your ‘polished’ manuscript aside and not touching it for a week or two. JEESH! I don’t ask for much, but it feels like a lot. My fingers itch to go over it again. My mind will think of different ways I could change a sentence or two and make them better. OH THE AGONY. But then time passes and I get to lay my hands on it again. *whew! I was sensing a major breakdown there. haha* Now here’s my test… Does it still sound good and feel right when I read it. So with a big deep breath I begin to read my story A LOUD one more time…
If it sounds right still I’m ready for the next step… my critique group. heeeheeeeeheeeee. Bless them. If it doesn’t. Well, it’s wash, rinse, repeat for me. Yep, I go over all those steps above til I get it right. THEN it goes to my critique group. See, they never get away. *ahahahahahahahahaha*
It sounds like a lot of work. Doesn’t it??? ***ya hear that all you peeps who say writing for children is e a s y. pppphhhhhhhhhhhhhhhllllllllllllllllt!*** Ok, sorry. Let me get off my soapbox here. Well actually it is a lot of work. I think that is what makes revising as rewarding as finding a new idea in your haystack! The time and energy you put into a manuscript does come across easy.
But that’s when you know you’ve done your job. ;^D