I realized I haven’t been posting much on my writing process at all lately, so here’s a bit of an update.
I’ve been spending time with the slow and painful process of revising. A while back, I found a great piece of revision advice from the NaNoWriMo blog, called “A 7-step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!)“. I’ve taken some of the advice from that blog and have been using it ever since.
Some of the items on the checklist I didn’t worry about, and other stuff I added in, but basically, what I’ve been doing, is going through my manuscript line by line, and re-working the sentences that don’t work, but also using handy stickers to colour code problem areas.
For example, a green sticker signifies every time I mention a character named Rufina. I decided a while ago that one of the major plot points involving this character didn’t work.
So I need to identify wherever Rufina is mentioned so that I can go back and delete that scene, or revise it to account for the major change in plot. Since I’m not ready to fill in those gaps yet, I’m identifying them for later.
As I’m doing this, I’m also using this advice from the NaNoWriMo blog:
“Now, go back through the manuscript again and write a list of all the scenes in each chapter and the pages they are on. This isn’t as painful as it sounds.
You only need a few words of description for each section: Electricity goes out (21-24), ring bearer loses the ring (110-111), teacher goes to hospital after swallowing frog (83-86). You get the idea. This will essentially provide an outline of the story.”
I’m having trouble with only using a few words for each scene, so for me it’s more like a couple of sentences for each scene. I hope to be finished my new and improved scene outline sometime in the next century.
The point of this little exercise is to use different coloured highlighters to highlight all the different subplots, so you can see how well they work with the main plot of your story. And what’s left that’s not highlighted, is the main plotline. With this isolated from the rest of the story, it will be easier to spot problems.
See the full article for more details; it has some excellent points, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article break down the revision process so neatly and so detailed before. It’s helping me to stay focused.
But it is very tedious and time-consuming. Speaking of which, I should probably get back to it.
Happy writing everybody 🙂
Do you have a certain method you use when revising your first draft?
You can find the rest of my posts on the subject of writing, under the category The Writing Process, found in the right hand column of my blog.
*Picture found on this great looking blog, Wild About Words, via Google Image Search. I will definitely be revisiting that one!