We’ve previously looked into reading the draft, and today, what some call revising your draft. I like breaking this down to “re-visioning” your work. Re-visioning is more than swapping out words, deleting a passage here, adding a new one there. At this point of the process, you should be rethinking and re-visioning your story, looking at it deeper than what appears on the surface.
Catching the idea
Evaluating the idea
Growing the idea
Reading the draft
Re-vision and self-editing
Critique group feedback
Rewriting or recreating
<<GO TO Critique group feedback, if needed>>
What’s the difference? Re-visioning is “seeing again” with new eyes. This is your chance to make your writing more powerful. Revising is one part of the re-visioning process. Another is checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
You might do these pieces of the re-visioning step all in one pass through the manuscript or in multiple passes. That’s up to you and what works best.
Keep things as simple as possible for yourself.
Don’t be afraid – of anything.
Brainstorm ways to reach each plot and subplot climax and resolution.
Don’t let revision impede your writing.
Keep yourself open to “seeing again.”
ASK YOURSELF – A two level process:
Are you doing more showing than telling?
Does each character have a purpose in the story?
Is your chosen POV consistent?
Is the dialog and use of tags done clearly and correctly?
Can you find places where information is repeated?
Did you weave description and setting into the characters or other story elements?
Are there any plot discrepancies?
To make certain your sentences are active:
Have you used the strongest verbs possible?
Are you using the same words or phrases in close proximity? (Are your characters forever smiling? Vary body language, gestures, and character actions.)
Do you vary sentence structure?
Did you use the most precise word to mean what you want?
When sentences begin with “There are/is/was” or “It is/was” try to rephrase to make this more engaging.
Avoid overusing adverbs and adjectives.
Does your story opening force your protagonist or other main character to act? Is this challenge obvious? Does the reader understand the character’s goal and challenge?
Are there emotion, tension, and/or suspense in each scene?
Is there anything that is too obvious? Is some challenge too easy for the protagonist? How might you make it more difficult?
What might you do to make each scene more powerful?
Can you name the motivation (goal/need) for each event?
How are you preventing the protagonist from achieving his or her goal? (This must be put off until the climax.)
What will the reader hope for or wonder about for the protagonist as the story is read?
Is each character essential to the story? Does each have a defined purpose? (If you can’t answer these questions, eliminate this character.)
Have you chosen the right POV character(s) to tell the story?
Revise and edit each scene from the beginning to the end from page one all the way through to the end of your manuscript. Once done, I would suggestion revisiting the beginning and reading it to make sure it’s in alignment with the ending.
Once you finish this re-visioning step, you’re ready to move on. Keep a list of questions to ask members of your critique group as you re-vision your story. This will help with the next step and gives your critique group a framework in which to work. This also makes sure you get what you’re looking for in terms of feedback.
NOTE: Some people reverse this step (revision) and the next one (feedback). Do what works for you, but it’s helpful to have a more polished story to give you your critique group.
Question for today: What is your re-visioning process? If you don’t have one, how do you imagine it to work?