Monday, March 8, 2010

Revisions Anyone?

Well, I almost didn't make it this past week. One of my goals was to blog Monday through Friday. I had no internet for two days so that goal was a wash, but internet doesn't affect my writing, right? In addition to internet issues, I also had plotting issues. I mentioned in Friday's post that I finally got a handle on it. Lucky for me, I didn't have to work Friday through Sunday so I was able to finish the first draft of Blood Diamond.


Now the hard part. Revisions. I outlined my revision plan to my accountability group, basically editing two chapters on my off days from the part time job and one chapter on the days I have to work, to finish by Sunday. This may seem drawn out, as one of my accountability partners challenged. It got me thinking. Could I do more? On the days I work at the part time job, the answer is no. And this week is a long one for me as I have to work more days than usual. On the days that I don't work the part time job? Hmm, I really don't think so.

I have a process. It's rather involved, but by spending extra time with each chapter, I try to get all my revisions done in as few passes as possible. I also don't revise as I write so even though I write fairly clean, I tend to leave some things out and the plot tends to change somewhat. The first thing I do is to read through my selected chapters. Today that will be chapters one and two. As I read, I will make notes of things that are no longer part of the story and where I need to add. Once I make those changes, I print out the chapters and grab my highlighters.

Now, if you've ever taken Margie Lawson's Deep EDITS class, you'll know where I'm going with the highlighters. If not, you have got to take her class. The gist is that you color code highlight your manuscript so you can see at a glance things you need based on how much of each color you have on your papers and what those colors represent. It's a five color process. Once I see what I've got and what I need to balance it out, I work on that.

Once I have added what I think I need to add, I run my pages through a writing program. This program helps me catch passive verbs, clich├ęs, hidden verbs, etc. It's not a hundred percent since it's geared toward business writing, but it helps me catch a lot. There is another program I use to find overused words. Once I go through all this, I do another read through.

My process can be quite time intensive and I want to spend the time I need with each chapter. This is my process, as convoluted as it may sound.

What's your process?


GPS said...

I do revisions like everything else, by the seat of my pants. I tend to edit as I go so it takes me longer but when I finish the first draft it's not a complete disaster. And I run the ms thro Word for grammar, punctuation and passive words.
After so many years of working a day job I just can't seem to squeeze myself into a routing anymore.

Mary Ricksen said...

I do revisions by the seat of my pants also.
I like to edit as I go too. The rest I do the same. All I need now is to wake up my muse!

Riley Quinn said...

Two pantsters! I've tried to edit as I go but find the story changes so much from what I think it's going to be to what it actually is that I end up doing more work that gets deleted in the end.

Thanks for sharing, ladies.

Rachel Lynne said...

Hey! Congratulations on finishing Blood Diamond!!
I'm not ready for revisions yet but I don't anticipate much cause I do it as I go :) I like the highlighter idea though!

Ellie Sullo said...

Great going with your first draft. I'm also an intuitive writer/reviser. My outlines are sketchy, too. But all this dependence on intuition means when I finish a chapter or two I'd better take time to fill in my plot chart to remind myself what major things occurred in those pages. Otherwise I may forget crucial events or even dialogue I've added that is essential to the plot. Then I don't have to keep looking backward or searching for a point I think I made SOMEWHERE! Especially writing suspense or mysteries, so far it works, once I get rolling and discipline myself to take those notes on what I've just done.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Riley,
I used to edit as I wrote but I found it took me way too long to finish a first draft that way. I now subscribe to the "Vomit it out, clean up the mess later" school of first draft writing. I make notes as I go of any research points I have investigate, as well any questions/ideas for the plot. Then once I'm done I go back and reread, and then address all the issues from my notes. It's kind of a messy process but it seems to work for me.

BTW I'm working on edits on a diamond story as well. I'm hoping to submit by March 31.

Best of luck with your revisions.


Riley Quinn said...

Thanks for your support, everyone. It seems that Jana is the only commenter that works similar to me. And that's okay. Whatever works, I say.

Good luck on your diamond story, Jana. I'm sure your story is great. If you need a beta reader...

Alannah Lynne said...

I'm with you and Jana. That first draft is a total mess. I barf out the words - writing a minimum of 1K each day, with a goal of 3-4K each day. Some days, it's not uncommon for me to reach 5-6K. But we're talking rough, rough, ROUGH!

I stop after I've written several chapters, go back through, make changes and additions (based on plot changes or additional information that I've learned about my characters).

Then I print it out so I can see it differently than I did on the screen. I use blue pen, red pen, pencil. And then, I break out the highlighers - a process I call Margie-izing (I'm a huge fan of her classes!).

It's a complicated, painful, sorted, ugly process that I wouldn't wish on anyone. But, it's my process and one I seem to be stuck with.

Good luck on your revisions!!

Calisa said...

I'm a panster editor, but I tend to do as Jana and make notes to filter through at the end also. I also edit to a minor degree as I write so I end up with more of a mess with some wips than others this way at the end of first draft. But it keeps me excited about the ms while I write doing it this way. At least for now it does.

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