Writer’s Hint: #1

When working on revisions on your manuscript, setup a file with the title of your ms and the words “deleted scenes.” Copy and paste the scenes you’re removing into this file for pain-free revisions.

Then reread your ms. If the chapter reads better without that scene, then leave it in the file.


Revision Hell by Janice Seagraves

 Revision Hell

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.

Deep Revisions

Deep Revisions in Four Steps
by Janice Seagraves
1. Read your manuscript like a reader. Print out, or load your manuscript into a reading device, and don’t forget to change the font. Don’t skip this part as it very important to the overall revision process. This exercise never fails to surprise me on how I don’t actually see the whole picture when I write my stories.
2. Take notes: As you read through your manuscript, keep a pad handy and take notes as you read. Something like in ch. 2 I have June with blue eyes and in ch. 5 I have her with green eyes. Keep it simple so your not pulled out of your read through.
3. Write what happens in each chapter:  Do this after your read though, not during. This is a hard exercise and it always takes me a while to complete it, but one I’ve found to be very valuable in deciding which scenes to cut and which to expand on. It also can help you when you submit your work later on, as some editors want a chapter by chapter break down of your manuscript.
4. Write out a character list with good and bad flaws/habits: This exercise can be very helpful and I’ve always enjoy it.  All your characters should have good and bad qualities to them. No one likes to read about a perfect character who never makes any mistakes. Flaws make your character more human, and your reader will sympathize with your characters too.