Revisions: Don't Look Back

Ever feel like you're in the middle of a combat course without an instructor?  I'm getting through my revisions, the first three chapters were a dream; the next three have been harder to push through.  The irony is that I have actually written in more words in the last chapter versus what I've edited out. So this week it's a reminder on editing.  I'm pulling on my full metal jacket, army combat boots... okay, the heeled ones and heading back in.   What have I learnt over the past three weeks?

1.  Don't ever look back.  Edits serve a purpose, to get your book in the best possible shape, ready for the next phase of the publishing journey.   If you delete a line, a paragraph - don't take it personally.  It's for the greater good - save it into an edits folder if you think you may use it for another story.  Otherwise, move on.

2.  Don't 'dilly-dally'.  Indecisiveness can lead to time-wasting.  Oh wait, I know we're experts at procrastinating but to wield that sword through your unwanted chapters - you need to make some big decisions.  What to keep; what not to keep.  That is the question.   If a scene is essential to moving the story on, keep it.   If not, well - see number one.

3.  Read your work aloud!  Yes, don't be afraid - it won't bite you.  Remember it's your work, you want people to read it right?  Read it aloud; listen to the story.  Do you love it?  Does it need some tweaking? Go ahead and tweak.  Much tweaking makes perfect!

4.  Don't kill me here my green friends!  I find that printing off my work helps.  I don't do it that often, but it is good to read your work - printed out on paper.  Marvel at the words you've written, and take a good old fashioned red pen and start striking through them.  It's therapeutic!

5.  Set yourself realistic deadlines for editing, enjoy life and take time to relax.  Don't become a grain of rice in a pressure cooker.  You need to have a clear head to write, edit, revise.  Above all, relish that fact that you've moving towards your goal of finishing your story - and getting published!  We all want that right?  Now, go get 'em!

Is there a method to this editing madness?  What's yours?


  1. Jolene Perry taught me that stealing that paper from family eases the guilt. Good luck with revisions

  2. I always print mine off and mark all over the pages before I put the changes into the computer.

  3. I always edit on the computer,and I don't print anything out--ink and all. I've read some of my chapters (not all; I need to do that) and I've found that helps.

  4. I agree it's good to print it off. I try doing random chapters at a time after my first full run thru of the story. That way I don't get bogged down with the big picture.

  5. Looking over your past posts on living in London does sound does sound exciting. The pagentry, old and majestic holds a fascination for many of us. Take it away and you have another large city with interesting, and historical buildings to see, but no magic.
    Why are we so enthralled with the prospects of another royal wedding? Perhaps it is partly being a witness (thanks to tv) to history coming to life and history in the making, all in the same show.
    Most of your editing guidelines could not only be applied to writing but to improving one's life.

  6. Such good advice! I never thought of reading it aloud, but that has to be so helpful! Good luck with revisions!

  7. Joanna, I do feel a little guilty about the paper... I try to recycle where possible.

    Candy, I think its so much easier on paper in some ways. You can see what it looks like printed - and whether its easy to read or not. ;)

    Golden Eagle, I starting reading some of mine scribblings aloud and it was weird at first but gave me a sense of whether the language flowed.

    Pk, I agree my dear! I'm doing 3 chapters at a time. I read through, make my scribblings and rewrite. ;)

    Mya, thanks for point that out, I hadn't thought of it. "Don't look back could be applied to life definitely - changes, the different chapters we go through. ;)

    Meredith, thanks! I find these help so very chuffed if I can help others. I'm still learning myself. Good luck with your writing too my dear! x

  8. I revise a bit as I go and like you, printing it out really helps. Don't know why but I catch more on hard copy.

    Great tips!

  9. Great tips! I know I should print mine off more often. I always catch more mistakes when I do. :-)

  10. Terry, thanks lovely, I agree. I think after months of reading it online - you need to see it on paper. ;)

    Shannon, thank you! ;) Me too! Things seem to stand out more, and it easier wield that red pen through it.

  11. I edit in rounds - plot, continuity, over used words etc. The advice is to print it out and check it for a final run through. Seeing it on paper is a very different view.
    Get someone else to look through it too. I find I miss things because I know what it should say - this is not the same as what is actually there.
    Good luck with the edits.

  12. I print occasionally but not often. I also make lots of notes in my work about changes to be made and then after awhile of stewing over it, I come back and change it if I still feel strongly about it.

    I guess I am guiltiest of not reading a loud as much as I should. Thanks for your insights.


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