Revision Reminders: A List

Because I’ve been knee deep in revisions since, oh, mid-April, by this point. And I’ve accumulated so many reminders that drafting and revision are completely different beasts that I felt it necessary to share them.

1. Revision takes time

2. Like, lots of time.

3. If you spend three or four days tidying up one chapter, that’s fine.

4. Often, you will spend three or four days tidying up one chapter, only to delete half of it once you realize that you went in the wrong direction.

5. You will delete as much as you will add.

6. You will still need to rein in your tendency to over-write.

7. If you are the kind of person who under-writes your first draft, you will spend much of your time beefing up your manuscript in revisions.

8. You will cut scenes you love.

9. You will realize that that amazingly clever line of dialogue/gorgeous piece of prose/witty remark that you’ve strung along through multiple drafts no longer fits.

10. Your file for “cut sections” will double in size.

11. You finally, finally figure out the reason why that one character does that one thing that you’ve left unexplained for three drafts.

12. You will add more scenes with certain side characters.

13. You will reduce your subplots.

14. You will adjust and realign and re-adjust the main plot line more times than you can count.

15. You will forget to work in relevant character back story until you’ve already finalized your revision plan.

16. You will redo your revision plan almost as many times as you redo your actual book.

17. Sometimes, in a fit of desperation or inspiration, you will cast your revision plan aside and do what works.

18. You will have ah-ha moments.

19. You will second guess yourself at every possible turn.

20. You will fall head-over-heels in love with scenes that you never conceived of in your first draft.

21. You will spend far too much time agonizing over individual sentences.

22. You will have days where you agonize over the whole manuscript.

23. You will have days where you feel like an honest-to-God revision warrior.

24. You will have days where you feel as though you may never finish.

25. You will keep going anyway because you are determined to finish.

Or maybe, if you’re nothing like me, you will set goals, stick to them, and finish in a month. And if you are, in fact, an honest-to-God revision warrior, tell me your secrets. What tips and tricks do you use to make the process easier?

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