Revision

Feb. 1st, 2015 10:11 pm
sarillia: (Default)
[personal profile] sarillia posting in [community profile] write_away
Hey all! It's been a while.

I am revising a novel for the first time (and it only took me 7 years and 15 first drafts to get here!) and I'm actually feeling pretty good about it so far, but I've been getting curious about how other people go about the revision process.

Date: 2015-02-02 03:54 am (UTC)
siofrabunnies: (Default)
From: [personal profile] siofrabunnies
I like revising when I get stuck. Go back and read the previous chapter/paragraph to tidy things up, and I often get a bead on where to go next.

If I'm just catching mistakes, I work backwards, end to beginning, so I don't just breeze through. It helps to curb that thing where I know that it's supposed to say, so I miss what it actually says.

Date: 2015-02-02 04:15 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
My current project is the only one I've gotten deep into revisions for, and I've mostly been feeling my way instinctively. First, at each scene I asked myself whether this was the best thing to be happening, whether this was the best time for it to happen, and whether it was happening in the best/strongest way. That was responsible for most of the plot adjustments.

Aside from that, I went through and stopped at any place that bothered me, often places that felt boring, and figured out a way to fix them. I struggled in the first draft because I had certain necessary time jumps within the story that led to my MC sitting around passively while we both waited, which was so far out of character. Actually, as I was starting the third draft I realized I somehow still didn't have a complete handle on her, so I started a character map on a huge sheet of paper and finally landed on the specific aspects of her worldview and self-image that let me get into her head better, and everything about the story improved with that, as you'd expect.

I wonder to myself how much my editing process will shift with each story, whether they'll end up needing very different changes or if my issues will fall into a pattern. All I know is I've felt myself learning an incredible amount from going through it this first time, most of which I couldn't effectively put into words. I'm glad it's going well for you so far! I hope that continues. Process is something I find very interesting as well.

Date: 2015-02-02 07:13 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
That sounds like a solid plan. I think world building can make or break a story. And making a timeline is always good. The amount of time I've spent wrestling with my little calendar of plot points...

One thing I've liked about editing is the increased focus on story structure. Determining when to raise the stakes further, developing this thing to build a bigger impact for that thing, mentioning this other thing intentionally enough but subtly enough to create that Surprise! Oh... Things that first drafts can't fully take into account.

Date: 2015-02-02 07:58 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
Oh yeah, it's definitely always there for me, but I noticed that in editing it takes more of a front seat, especially given that some things only become apparent after the first draft is complete, or developed along the way and now earlier scenes show potential for incorporating later bits. Examining the whole thing written.

Date: 2015-02-10 05:08 pm (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (carrot gentleman)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
I also keep a separate document where I just write down notes. I call it "CHANGES" and do it for the whole story before going to actually do anything about it, because one change can have a knock-on effect on the other and it's good to get a full view before moving or changing things about.

Then I go through my checklist one point at a time and make the alterations in turn. This is because there are usually quite a few changes to make and I can get confused if I try to work through the whole story changing everything as I go. Far better to work on one issue at a time and tick it off.

[profile] siofraabunnies' suggestion above about working backwards would be really good for catching spelling and grammar issues, but it would leave me really confused plot-wise. I have enough trouble already remembering continuity.

When revising, I tend to accidentally forget which characters are supposed to know what plot point when, and get it all mixed up, if I don't go back through it strictly in order. It's not a problem for me when I write the first draft but that tends to happen with me a lot afterwards in edit.

Date: 2015-02-04 09:21 am (UTC)
wordstitch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wordstitch
#1: http://onedeadplotbunny.dreamwidth.org/40290.html <-- I do a quick read-through with the items listed on this post in mind.

#2 Then I make the corrections, and do a second read-through, this time reading aloud if time (and vocal chords!) permit. Change anything that sounds awkward.

#3 I go through and single out whole sections that could be cut without the fic suffering and I cut them out (but remember to save a copy!). Then I bullet-point the scenes if I haven't already done so and see if there's a transition missing, or if something needs to be explained in further detail, or if characters' actions make sense based on their personalities, and if not, how can I change the actions. Make changes.

Then repeat #1 & #2.

But seriously, I never edit enough D= Editing is difficult!

I recently re-read Stein on Writing by Sol Stein and it was full of really good advice for this sort of thing. If you haven't read that book, consider picking up a copy!

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