by Janice Seagraves
1) Do a read through. Read your manuscript like a reader. Either print it out, load it into your ereader or change the font and read it on your computer. Note: changing the font will make your manuscript look different and you can see it with fresh eyes.
2) Keep a note pad by you as you read. Take notes, but keep it simple: Ch. 1 needs a better opening hook. Ch. 2 starts out too slow.
3) After you do your read through, go through it again, but this time write each scene down.
I won’t kid you, this is the hardest part of revision, but it is the most rewarding. Write it simply, Ch. 1: scene 3: the scene where the hero and heroine meet is too slow. Ch. 2: scene 1: the wake up scene is too cliché.
4) As you write each scene add a number from 1 to 10 for its importance to your story. Note: Don’t revise until you write all the scenes down.
5) After you have all the scenes down, you will be able to look each over each scene in your story to see which ones you want to delete. This step helps you see the bigger picture, so to speak.
6) But don’t delete yet!
7) Open a new file on your computer and name it “deleted scenes” with the title of your ms. In this file you’ll paste in the scenes you are taking out. It makes taking out those scenes nearly painless, and when you reread your ms you can see if your ms flows better without them. If it doesn’t then you can always put it back in.
8) After you have taken out the scenes that slowed your prose, reread your entire manuscript like a reader. If it flows, you’re done.
9) Send it to a beta reader, or if you’re feeling really confident sent it to a publisher.
One step that has always helped me, whether I’m writing an essay, story or poetry, is to put the draft away for a week (for short pieces and when under a deadline) or for a month or more (for longer works) and focus on another project. Then, when I come back to revise, I don’t remember everything I intended the story to be, so I am actually reading the words (and not my intentions).
That’s an excellent Tip. Thank you for posting.
I always put my work away for a time, so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.
No problem. I appreciated the chance to look through your editing advice. It’s solid!
You can never read over it enough. It helps to have someone read over it with a fresh eye..
Yes, or have someone read it out loud to you.
I learned this one the hard way. I just finished my final read through and picked up on some important items I missed. Very important step.
Then I’m glad you read your ms though again. 🙂