Monday, January 21, 2013

Craft Chat: Three Revision Passes

I am working my way through revisions before sending my current manuscript to my editor. Once I've laid the story onto the pages, I go back through the manuscript multiple times. Here are three of my revision techniques.

1. The Outline
When I write a verse novel, I number the poems. It helps me keep the ideas, pacing in order. My first revision pass consists of writing an outline of the novel with a one-line plot/theme description of each poem. This helps me look at story flow and spot gaps where characters or ideas are missing for too long.

2. Would She Say It?
For this one, I play a bunch of music that gets me into the head of my MC and then reread the MS again, beginning-to-end) asking myself if each line (dialogue or internal monologue) attributed to my MC feels true to her character.

3. The Mark Twain Pass
You know the old saw "I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one"? I go back through the ms to eliminate RESTATEMENTS, ADVERBS, UNNECCESARY ANALOGIES, AND OVERWORKED IMAGES.

These are just three of the many passes I give the ms before turning in. I envy people who can sort of work forward without rereading their whole blasted book so many times. Alas, I do catch a lot of typos.

How many times to you read a MS before you consider it ready to share? Any suggestions to help compulsive re-readers like myself? ADVICE ALWAYS WELCOME :)

Happy Monday!

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