Monday, April 21, 2014

The Secret to Better Revise Your Novel

I always spend loads of time editing my stories, and decided to make a list of tips for you to better edit your work. Everyone has their own individual process, but you might like to know that you are not the only one in this uphill battle, and that the following simple steps of advice might help you, too along the way. I hope they'll help!

Don't be afraid to kill your darlings
(and shorten up your writing)
  1. Keep your work in one file, in one place. For the holidays I was forced to put it on a USB, which got me confused with the original file and caused for a difficult situation. Furthermore, it makes it easier to make changes to things you did earlier and to quickly read over your earlier writing in order to coherently continue onwards. I've heard of authors creating a new document for each chapter, yet how to find back things or search for keywords when you have over fifty chapters?
  2. Keep a checklist (which you tick off throughout). If there is something you need to look at again that you notice while working on your original draft, make a quick note of it. This way, when editing, you just have to work down the checklist in order to fix up all those problem areas.
  3. Add pages between chapters. I never did this myself, but I found this tip on a Writer's Digest post, and its quite interesting. If you leave a page between each chapter, whether the previous one ended at the start, middle or end of a page, it can help you easily find the start and ends of chapters. It could, however, mess up your layout if you decide to later add or delete parts of what you previously wrote. It depends on your working whether you'd like to follow this step!
  4. Check typos. Nothing worse than appearing unprofessional for easily-prevented grammar and/or spelling errors. Check separately for plot later.
  5. Check it all again. Have you finished revising? Do it all again! The revising should be 90% of all of the writing process. Especially make your starting and ending paragraphs strong to hook your reader and leave a powerful impression once the novel is over. I usually check my work several times, then leave my work for several days/weeks/months and look at it again with new eyes.

Do you have any revision techniques that you’d like to share? Certainly feel free to add them below!

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