Monday, December 14, 2009

Revision Advice

Well, now that the first draft of my novel is finished (and apparently too long already at 114,329 words in Times New Roman), it is time to start revising. I do not write in the NaNoWriMo style, which involves putting as many words down on paper as fast as possible without editing, but instead I have been editing and revising as I have gone along. However, the revisions have mostly pertained to each small section that I was working on at the time, not to the overall structure of the story.

Another way that my story differs from a NaNo story is that I have written most of it over a period of three years (except for a small core section that started as four short stories written in 2003). So rather than springing out of my head in one short month, my story has had time to percolate and develop over a period of years.

Nevertheless, I do know that it needs revisions. For example, as I was writing, if I came to something that needed research or fact checking, often I just simply inserted asterisks as a reminder to go back later and correct the details, rather than stopping the flow and getting distracted with research right at that moment. (Note: I did not do this for facts that were critical to the plot, just for details and minor events.) As well, I know that there were some shifts in characterization as the book evolved.

What I need to do is sit down and read the whole thing at a sitting to see how it holds together. One of my concerns about revising is that I know that I hate to cut (but am happy to add!). But this manuscript already is too long; I'm going to have to be brutal and cut, cut, cut. Another concern is that I am not sure how to keep it coherent and consistent, given that it is so long. I am used to writing and revising much shorter pieces.

So, if you were hoping for revision advice, that's not really what this post is about. It's more about me looking for advice. I have come across one site that looks very helpful:


  1. Congrats on finishing! And I think you're in the perfect place to be for a first draft: with too many words. It's always easier to cut cut cut than it is to try to build up around a story that's too short. At least, in my experience. And once you've read it and seen what an amazing thing you've produced, it'll be fun to make it even better.

    I sound like the world's most annoying cheerleader, but I really believe this stuff! Why are you rolling your eyes at me? Aw.. ;)

  2. I second the cheerleader above. ;-)

    HOORAY for finishing--so wonderful and such an accomplishment. Congratulations.

    And yes, I think being in the position of needing a slight trim is excellent.

    Have you started the exciting process yet? How was your first read? Exhilarating, I hope!

  3. Mothballed due to Christmas. Collecting dust. But I appreciate the pep talks, both of you. Really.

    And now I just need to stop blogging, facebooking, net surfing, and working so much, and fly back at 'er.