The Revision Process for Writers by Lucia Brucoli

Today we welcome onto the blog, writer Lucia Brucoli who discusses her Revision Process.

Big thanks to Lucia for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out her links and details at the end of this post. 

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Chaim Potok: I think the hardest part of writing is revising. And by that I mean the following: A novelist has to create a piece of marble and then chip away to find the figure in it.

Up to about a year ago, I thought drafting was the hardest part of the writing process: all my life I’ve wanted to write a book, but I could never finish projects, stopping at mid-way.

When I finished drafting GOODBYE, I was ecstatic! I could start pitching to publishers now, right? Well, no. First came the revision stage, where us writers essentially go back and destroy everything we’ve written, hoping to make it better.

I’m a goal-oriented schedule fanatic, obsessed with planning everything in my life. As soon as I finished drafting, I researched various revision options online, and found the one that suited me best: having multiple revision rounds, each one focusing on an aspect of the story.

This made the daunting task of revising my book much less overwhelming, because I could concentrate on only one thing at a time.

My advice is to start revising ‘the bigger picture’ of your novel, instead of details such as spelling and sentence structure. Why? Because you risk wasting a lot of time if you later find out that of the chapter you meticulously edited, you have to delete two pages.

Below, I have written my personal revision rounds. Keep in mind that these are only personal to me and may not necessarily work for you. However, feel free to adapt any to suit your revision rhythm!

Round 1: Plot

This is the first, and possibly hardest read-through, where I looked for plot holes in my work.

Being a grammar freak, it was difficult not to correct every single small error I saw, but this was not what the round was about.

Typewriter with the word Plot typed out

 

When writing, we authors have to keep track of a lot of intricate but important details, so it’s easy to forget some. The insignificant ones can be corrected in later rounds, but larger plot holes should be identified and solved now.

Round 2: Timeline

This was an eye-opener for me, as I found that I had a lot of time inconsistencies: to solve this, I numbered the dates from May through to July (when my novel is set) in an Excel document.

Then, I went through my novel and every time I saw a ‘time word’ (eg. this afternoon, the next day, a week later, yesterday), I wrote the event so it corresponded with the date.

This way, when I went through and saw a time mark that contradicted another, I could write the correct one in my timeline, and change the one on my manuscript.

Round 3: Characters

This was a complex but meaningful round, which I created to focus on characters of my novel.

It was difficult at first due to me changing names so having to figure out who was who, not fully exploring character personalities and character relationships, and completely forgetting physical descriptions.

To solve this, I made Character Profiles for each of my characters. I wrote a guest post on this for Novel Publicity.

After printing these, I went through my WIP and paid very close attention to the characters, fine-tuning descriptions, actions, and dialogue. I’m now proud of my characters.

Round 4: Setting

Setting is often overlooked in stories but it truly shouldn’t be, as it adds an element of ‘reality’ to it.

In SFF especially, worldbuilding is crucial to make the reader fully understand the story, as it can tie in with character choices, plot, and emotions.

In this round, I made an important setting-change that emphasized the gravity of my plot, giving more value to the climax. I wrote another guest post tackling this on MA Greene’s blog.

Round 5: General read-through

This is the last of the ‘big picture’ rounds. It is optional, but I’d suggest incorporating it to further polish your novel.

Here I searched for remaining plot holes and possible problems, and even add foreshadowing!

Round 6: Line edits

This was my favorite round, and easiest to go through. I went through my novel with a magnifying glass, correcting all the annoying little things I’d noticed in previous rounds.

Page of edits, red pen scribbles. Title Image for Editing Page

This was where I could edit without mercy. Though these micro-edits may seem trivial at first, they are crucial so that whoever reads your story, whether an editor or reader, can more effectively understand the story.

As for me, this round was just pure fun.

Round 7: Beta Reader Feedback

This is the round I am in now. I recruited about twenty beta readers, divided them in different rounds depending on what I was looking for, created surveys on SurveyMonkey, and sent them my book.

I divide their feedbackinto ‘general’ and ‘specific’ and tackle it one at a time, while simultaneously looking for trends.

An important thing to keep in mind is that nothing works for everyone, and that every beta will give you different type of feedback, focusing on a different aspect of your book.

In essence, if you’re going for qualitative feedback as I am, you will have to dedicate a mini-roundto each reader.

Round 8: Final read-through

After tirelessly working with beta readers, this should be my last round. Here, I’ll read through my book once again, and get it as shiny and perfect as possible, so I can start pitching it to agents/publishers! This is truly the final round.

The secret is to be flexible when you adapt the process to your writing style and needs, but be firm and goal-focused when in the round.

You are in control of how you revise, and you can change your process whenever you feel necessary.

I hope this was helpful. I plan to write more detailed guest posts on each round in the future. Thank you for reading, and I wish you best of luck with editing!

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About Lucia

Avatar for writer Lucia Brucoli. Artistic butterflyLucia Brucoli is a high school student, aspiring author and freelance writer.

She is now working on her Young Adult sci-fi novel, GOODBYE.

In her free time she enjoys watching t.v shows, reading, and of course, writing!

Website   |   Twitter   |   Instagram

Goodbye

A decade after World War Three drones are attacking humans again, especially in Hermingheart, England. Anne’s friend Roy is taken.

Anne wants to find Roy.

Roy wants to escape.

Iris wants to save her people.

They’ll have to give up something: or they’ll all be destroyed.

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This post was written by a guest writer.  Please check out their details above.  If you would like to be a guest contributor on this blog, check out my Interested in Guest Posting page for details on how you can share your advice or do an author interview.

Happy writing

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7 comments

    1. Thanks so much for the reblog, Chris. Strangely, your recent reblog messages have been in my spam folder! Not sure why WordPress has suddenly decided they are spam. :/

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