Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em


Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em

You worked hard on your first draft of your book. You edited it several times, had an alpha reader, and sent it out to a few beta readers. While waiting to hear back from the readers, you were probably thinking, “I might need to make a few changes, but all in all, the story is great. It won’t be long before I publish it and start making some money.”

The day has arrived. The readers have reported back to you with lots of comments and suggestions. Reading through what they wrote, you realize you need to do more than a few minor corrections. The book is not ready for prime time. Your readers have pointed out a number of problems: not staying in point of view, too much telling instead of showing, boring descriptions that do nothing but slow the story down. Confusion between who is saying what or who is doing what and why.

Once you’ve absorbed what they told you — after you throw things at the wall, threaten to never write another word, and consider starting a bonfire with everything you’ve ever written — it’s time to sit down and fix these problems. That’s right, I’m talking about revisions. Yes, something writers don’t like to do, since that means more words need to be cut, scenes rewritten, maybe even the removal of a favorite character. I’m at a point right now where I need to decide whether to cut a couple of characters, or combine them into one new one. Decisions. Decisions.

You need to go through your book scene by scene, making sure they belong. Do they move the story along, or slow things down? Make sure you keep the comments from your readers handy when you’re doing this. Everything you write in your story should advance it in one way or another. The last thing you want to do is lose your reader’s interest through unnecessary descriptions or scenes that don’t go anywhere.

One trick you can use to help in revising your story, is going through the entire book, and for each scene ask the following questions:

  1. What is the current pov character attempting to do?
  2. Why are they doing this?
  3. What or who is preventing them from their goal?
  4. If they don’t reach the goal, what will happen?
  5. Do they succeed or fail?
  6. Is anything in this scene important to the main plot or any of the minor plots in the story?

When you’ve gone through the scenes in your book, make a note of the plot holes that exist, and use the above questions to help create the scene to fill  the hole.

Remember, you don’t have to cut everything that doesn’t move the story forward. After all, your characters don’t’ live in a vacuum. Your characters need to be living, breathing people to your readers, not some stick figure going from point A to point B, doing this doing that… The End. They have every day lives which can get in the way of achieving a certain goal or task. You need some fluff, but don’t over do it.

Another thing to consider, when you are reading a book do you skip over parts? If so, ask yourself why. When you read through your work, keep in mind why you skipped over things in books you’ve read.

Love it or hate it, revision is part of the writing process, just like editing. It helps you fine tune your story, giving your readers something enjoyable to read.

May the words ever flow!

About Anna Dobritt

Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG PDFs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs. She loves to read and write, and lives in Michigan. Anna enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes. Anna has three trilogies in the queue: Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish in 2016. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy. Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight, and a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within. Where the imagination soars on glowing wings! May the words ever flow!
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15 Responses to Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em

  1. Thank you for giving props to fluff. I’ve been ruthless with my editing lately and am starting to wonder if I’ve drained the life out of some scenes.

  2. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Check out this post on Anna Dobritt’s blog on the topic of revisions.

  3. Pingback: From Anna Dobritt’s Blog – Revisions: Love ‘em or Hate ‘em | Author Don Massenzio

  4. ‘You need some fluff, but don’t overdo it.’ Great advice!

  5. Rae Longest says:

    Passed this along to the Writer Wannabees in my class.

  6. Those six questions are vital to writing a good story. I like revisions, especially when they make a noticeable improvement to my prose.

  7. Such an encouraging post to find… as I do revisions! 😀 Many thanks for a common sense approach. 😉

  8. Reblogged this on Nesie's Place and commented:
    I only love revisions when they’re done! 😄

  9. 76Alena says:

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  10. Some really fantastic advice here, thank you!

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