The Madwoman’s Revision Technique
As with all things writing, there are about 10000 different ways to do anything. But my WIP is on a tight deadline, so I developed this technique to revise thoroughly and quickly.
If you want, you can check out my outlining technique to see what I did on the front end to reduce revision. Then follow me down the rabbit hole of madness!
Step 1: Get Input While Drafting.
I had a workshop group for my WIP, but you can also do this with a critique partner. There are a lot of forums/blogs that offer CP services, but a particular favorite of mine is Ladies Who Critique.
As I drafted, others’ feedback kept me motivated and kept my manuscript moving in the right direction. By the time I got to hardcore revision, I found it extremely helpful to have pockets of story that have been intensely revised already. It gives me little boosts of respite.
Don’t get totally bogged down in this—definitely keep drafting until you have a complete manuscript—but also be willing to do some work as you go. Your future self will thank you.
Step 2: Make Sweeping Analyses.
There are a few ways to get a sweeping look at your manuscript.
Option A: Read ALL the manuscript!
Print it out (or toss it on your Kindle) and set aside a day to read it front to back. The whole thing. Take notes as you go—any inconsistencies, any big spots that need work, anything you notice, track it.
Option B: 30 Pages
I recently found this post about revising your novel at a glance, and I love it. The basic concept is you make your book fit on 30 pages and you turn it into a carpet. I used my 30 page exercise to track all the subplots that I knew weren’t working as well as they could, and it was immensely helpful. But you can also use it to check the balance of dialogue vs. internal thought, or even to see what scenes might need to be cut.