Now we get to the hard part… Revising your work. The revision process is never as fun as the first draft, but it is absolutely essential to making your story the best that it can possibly be. Here are some steps that I recommend to make the editing process as fun, fast, and painless as possible.
First, go through your manuscript one more time by yourself. The best way for you to catch your mistakes would be to print out your story and try to read it like you’ve never seen it before. Taking a couple week break from reading or writing will help you look at your story with fresh eyes. Printing your story out also makes it look and seem different. You won’t read it quite as fast as on the computer and it’s easier to make notes and see your mistakes. One of my publishers’ sons recommends reading your story out loud. This will help you find typos, grammatical errors, overused words, and also get a feel for pacing. Make sure that you don’t only look for little errors but also look for big errors, like lack of character development, plot holes, unnecessary sections of the your story, unrealistic details, etc.
Second, once you finish your own revisions have your parents, friends, writing buddies, any English majors or movie critics or book lovers that you know read your book. Anywhere from 3-8 people editing your book is great! We’ll talk more about editors in the next few weeks. But have them read your story and be honest and very, very critical.
Third, take their edits and do another draft of your story. Be really picky with yourself!
Fourth, take a few week break. Then print out your story and read it again. Do another revision.
Fifth, have one or two of your editors check your work and look through it for nit-picky things and finalize your story.
Then…. You’re done! For now, anyways. There’s a ton of crazy steps when you get to publishing. And it’s ok if it takes months or even years to get there. From the time I started my story until the time it was published was seven years! Now, I didn’t work actively on my story for seven years. Another little brother joined our household. Our family built a house and moved. I had to graduate high school. My mom and I both had major health issues at separate times. So I didn’t work on it actively. But it was finished in God’s perfect timing. So don’t get discouraged! Work hard, pray a lot, and have fun! You never know how God wants to use you and your story for His purposes!
Stayed tuned for next week’s blog post! It’s going to relate to what I believe is one of the most important thing that you writers need to know about.
1. Start reviewing your story! Print it out, read it out loud, check it for errors, and start revising.
2. Find some editors who will be willing to critique your work after you finish editing it all.