Random Inspirations

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Revise…With New Eyes

on February 22, 2013

This week, I’ve been absorbed in revisions. I’ve been working on two short stories, and, of course, the biggie: my new manuscript. This editing frenzy has taught me that revision can be a writer’s BFF or most mortal enemy, sometimes both within the span of a few minutes. Luckily, I’m not undergoing the revision process alone, and neither should you…so here are four tips I’m just dying to share!

1. Let your manuscript sit. My instructor told me to leave my manuscript completely untouched for at least a week or two, so that I could see it with fresh eyes when I started revising. Although this was a nearly impossible feat, I fought my urge to attack the revisions right away. And surprise– I really did see the story more clearly after my brief hiatus.

2. Get a second pair of ojos. Ojos are eyes in Spanish, and for a thorough revision, you need them. Using the ojos of your family and friends can be somewhat helpful, mostly for an ego boost. (Yay, that’s great! You did it! I looove your writing!!) But, unless you come from a long line of literary experts, a second pair of trained (i.e. professional) ojos is recommended. My writing instructor provided me with pages of useful feedback. If you’re not taking a writing class, just Google freelance editors–there are tons of them just waiting to help you!

3. Organize your revision. To organize effectively, you must take all the editorial feedback you’ve received and find some logical way to apply it without leaving anything out. Naturally, it will be different for everyone, but I can tell you the system that’s working for me. I compiled a chapter-by-chapter list of changes that my instructor suggested. Some were flat-out editorial changes (i.e new wording here), and others were deeper plot/character considerations. This compilation has served as a useful checklist throughout my section-by-section revisions.

4. Read up. Currently, I’m reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. This book is chock-full of very specific editing tips for every aspect of a manuscript: dialogue, showing character emotion, interior monologue, etc,etc, etc. Writer’s Digest is a tried-and-true source, too.

Hopefully, this will illuminate some dark corners of the revision process. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll get back to my editing;)

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