Revisions, and why we’ve all been doing them wrong

December 13, 2009 at 2:15 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

*buzzcracklecrackleSCREEEEECH*

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog to bring you this special announcement.

Recently we have noticed some incorrect information being spread by the general public on the subject of “revisions.” We are here to clear up these falsehoods before someone loses their mind clicking the “spell check” button for the twentieth time.

What Revisions are NOT

~ Line edits

Example: “OMG, I cannot buh-LEEVE I used ‘they’re’ instead of ‘their.’ LULZ. Oopsie.”

~ Dialogue tweaking

Example: “So yeah I did like A LOT of thinking and I decided that Ryan would TOTALLY not say ‘Dat’s da bomb, yo.’ He’s SOO much more deep and sensitive than that.’

~ The careful and calculated rearranging of paragraphs

Example: “GOSH DARNIT. Can’t believe I ACTUALLY described Penelope’s AH-DORABLE Prada shoes before I talked about her EVEN MORE AH-DORABLE Gucci dress.”

~ Minor character changes

Example: “OH. MAH. GAWD. I just realized that it would be SOO much hotter if Chet had brilliant cerulean-violet eyes instead of just BOOORING turquoise. Am I right? AMIRIGHT?!”

What Revisions ARE

First, sit down and read through your book. All of it.

Make notes – honest, critical notes, like you’re beta-reading your own novel. Right now, this is not your baby. This is not your sweat-and-blood. This is a bookyou picked up off the shelf, and you’re trying to decide if it’s worth reading or not. Tick-tock…tick-tock… Come on, ladies and gentlemen – do you want to buy that book or not?

Before you answer that – no. You don’t. Not yet. Because that is a first draft, and even if it’s a decent first draft, it’s probably still not saleable. And it won’t necessarily be fixed with line edits or dialogue tweaking or minor character changes. You’ll probably need to revise.

To give you an idea of what revisions look like, you may want to head over to Kirsten Hubbard’s place. Or re-read Becca Fitzpatrick’s interview about her five rewrites.

The fact is that revisions are not about making your book shiny and error-free; they’re about making your book BETTER.  Sometimes this involves cutting 5k. (*sniffle* Bye, Shiny Pickpocketing Scene! It was fun while it lasted!) Sometimes it involves editing your favorite plot twist because – let’s face it – it just doesn’t make sense. (But WHY can’t the president’s son secretly be Dax’s long lost brother? This book needs a nod to Star Wars!) Sometimes this involves rewriting the beginning. (Maybe he can visit that one chick who shows up on pg. 57?) And rewriting the beginning. (No, no, that won’t work – we need more tension. Maybe…EPIC-RUN-IN-WITH-THE-OTHER-MC-IN-WHICH-THEIR-EYES-MEET-AND-THEY-HAVE-AN-INSTANT-CONNECTION.) And rewriting the beginning. (God, the MELODRAMA – it’s killing me. *facepalm* Stupid stupid stupid.)

So when you finish your first draft and you’re tempted to click spell check, fix those pesky grammar errors, and call it good – remember that this is your book. Your duty to your baby is to make it the best it can possibly be. It may be painful and frustrating and even a little insane-making (says The Girl Who No Longer Sleeps) – but ultimately, it will pay off.

~Kristin

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7 Comments »

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  1. I LOVE this post Kristin! It’s really great! I learned a lot from it! I’m bookmarking! :D

  2. LAWL! Great post, Kristin! =D Oh, revisions, how I look forward to thee.

  3. Love the post, Kristin! I did the same thing with The Pawn – and now I have to go back and apply the edits – which is pretty scary. o.o

  4. Ahahaha, this is great. I can’t even say I’m revising AC – I’m really rewriting the whole thing. Commas – such frivolous things! My “spell checking” will probably happen from 1 to 3AM some night.

    • LOL, no kidding. Mine too. Spell-checking party, Em? :D

  5. What do you mean my first draft isn’t perfect? You mean I actually have to ripped it apart and rewrite large chunks of it, and feed the scraps to my ms eating puppies?

    Great post!

  6. Great post, Kristin, and best of luck!!


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