Editing and Revising is by far the hardest part of writing! This is the part that most authors dislike. It’s at this point that a writer takes a harsh look at what they’ve just created.
So let’s walk through the process–at least what works for me.
The first thing I like to do after I’ve written “The End” (metaphorically) is to do a fast read through. Because I am a slow reader, I utilize a program called “Natural Reader.” You can check it out here. This program reads what I have written back to me in a somewhat natural voice. What I like about this program is that I can follow along as it reads back to me and catch a lot of problems such as missing words and punctuation. While the voice is flat, it does give me a sense of the flow of the story.
I understand that newer versions of Word also have a text to speech function, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
During the process of listening to the story, I keep a notebook handy and jot down the following:
- Fixes in sentence structure, plot, characterization (things that don’t hold true to my character) and any other glaring problems. I note the chapter or page so I can find it quickly. If it’s not a huge fix, I’ll take care of it while I’m reading
- Any ideas that I might have to add or delete from the story
- Any fleshing out of plot lines, or structure or characterization
After I’ve listened to my story and gotten a sense of how it flows, I go back and make the necessary fixes/changes to the story.
I let it sit for a few days and work on something else–another story, reading other authors, etc. This gives my brain a break from that particular story. After a few days, I listen to it again, repeating the process above.
When I’m satisfied I have worked on it enough, I like to send it out to at least two beta readers. Pick ones that either read widely, have read your work before, or that read specifically in your genre.
While my beta readers are slashing and bleeding all over my manuscript, I’m working on another story. Don’t let your writing lapse! This is detrimental to your career if you want to be an author.
After my beta reader returns it, I go through and address each of their suggestions. Most of the time they are spot on. Sometimes, I disagree, but will consider perhaps something I may have missed.
If time permits and my editor isn’t breathing down my neck to get the book in her hands, I will send it out to two more readers, preferably other authors who write in similar genres. When I send it to another author, I’ll generally ask for an endorsement to go on the back cover.
Then it’s off to my editor at Electric Scroll. Ann Marie is amazing! She’ll take my almost perfect book and make it truly fabulous! She has such a gift for catching all the stuff I missed when I was editing and revising.
I’m always looking for ways to improve. What would you add to the editing/revision process? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!