Revising is part of the writing process. New writers may not get this. It’s easy to think writing the end of a first draft is the hardest part. And it is a GREAT milestone–don’t get me wrong. But for me, revising is actually more difficult than the first draft.
Today, I’m sharing a few of my thoughts on revisions.
1. You can request 10 critiques on a manuscript and get 10 very different opinions. It happens. It’s confusing and frustrating and overwhelming. That said, you’ve probably asked for too many critiques. What’s the perfect number? I don’t have the answer to that. For myself, I do not like having more than three critiques of any work. With a limit placed on myself, I choose readers I trust for valuable input.
2. The beauty of critiques is having several readers point out the same issues that you are blind to see. You’re too close to the work. It happens. Sometimes, only one critiquer mentions an issue that you know is right. Take the constructive criticism and improve your work. After all, it’s the reason you asked for a critique.
3. If you don’t like the scene, do it again. Create a totally different scene by playing a game of “what if” with yourself. It may be that version 2 (or 20) is the best one ever. I’m also a fan of going on and fixing a scene later if inspiration is hiding from you.
4. Have you ever moved a scene? I have. Let’s say you have some killer dialogue, characterization, or internalization going on, but it’s too soon in the story. You are the wizard of your writing world. Wave your magic fingers (AKA cut + paste) to drop it somewhere else in your manuscript. I also moved a scene to open a story, because I wanted to have more action at the beginning.
I’ve offered a few tips for the new writer. Shoot, I’m betting these practices help the stubborn, stumped, or seasoned ones as well. What are your best tips for revising your writing?
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family. She’s obsessed with cairn terriers, Kings of Leon, new technology and sandy beaches. She’s also terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.