I’m fully into the thick of revising my 8th novel. By into the thick, I mean I just rewrote the same paragraph 5 times and am debating writing it a 6th. #revisionwoes
Since I’m now in a revision state of mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about revision advice I’ve gotten over the years.
You should only focus on one aspect of your novel with each round of revision. Draft 2’s are for plot. Draft 3’s are for character arcs. Drafts 4’s are for setting. Etc.
You need to have pages and pages of in depth notes about each of your characters, including the ones who only show up for one scene. This includes going on dates with your character and asking them questions and having pages of inspirational mood boards.
You must have a playlist when you revise. How else are you going to get in the dark/mysterious/happy/romantic mood when you write?
You should print out your novel in teeny tiny font and then highlight all the different elements so you get a big picture view of what’s lacking.
When you start a new draft, just finish it to the end. Do not edit as you go!
You should edit as you go so you don’t end up with 50 million drafts.
If I don’t get revision advice, then it’s the opposite — aka one of the most asked writerly questions — what is the best way to go about revisions?
Whatever way works for you!
Writing is hard. Revising (the art of pounding on the delete key and questioning all your previous choices with your story) is even harder.
So don’t make it even worse by trying to force yourself to revise in a way that doesn’t work for you.
If you like focusing on a chapter and rewriting every single word a dozen times until it’s absolutely perfect - then do it!
If you prefer to skim through your entire draft just to focus on your villain’s motivations - then do it!
If you like listening to music to help get you in a state of mind - listen away! If you’re like me and just end up singing along (even if the song doesn’t have any words - I’m a writer, I make them up myself) so you prefer to work in silence - do that!
When you’re first starting out on your writing journey, I think it’s great to try different approaches and strategies for tackling revisions. But once you find a system that works and feels good to you, stop and use that.
Do not compare yourself to how other writers revise. You’re the one writing your story, not them.
So my advice is to find what best works for you, stick to that, then revise away! Because, oh yeah, even if you know how you like to tackle revising your novels, you still need to actually do the work. (But it’s totally okay to go as slow or as fast as you want! Revising is not a race!)
And now for some stats!
My mood regarding the past week: Revisions feel good! Each paragraph I revise is one step closer to the novel being finalized-ish…one day.
My mood for this coming week: I. Am. Busy. Must. Write.
Other insights: I did not write for 2 days this past week. I was very busy and not in a great mental state to write. Rather than suffer through it, I chose to take some time away from my laptop. For those of you keeping track, that’s 6 days I haven’t written. But out of 134, which is still pretty darn impressive!
That's it for now. Til next week!