Revision Tips for Writers

 

We can all agree writing is a joy. It’s fun and many of us make our living doing it. But, there are parts of the publishing aspect that can be frustrating and difficult. Most of us find revision to be the most difficult hurdle. “I like it the way it is. Everything there is important and I don’t see anything that needs changing.” How many of us have approached the revision process with that mindset? I think we all have, at times. In other words, you are not alone.

Although I am an editor as well as a writer, I don’t find revising my work to be easy. However, I’ve collected tidbits of advice from several writers and editors. I’ve found them helpful, so I’m sharing them here:

  1. Revise big stuff first, make small edits later. This doesn’t mean you should not correct obvious typos and grammar errors as you notice them. However, you shouldn’t be actively tinkering with word choice until after you’ve nailed down the structure of your piece.
  2. Put the manuscript down and walk away. Writers need at least a little distance from their manuscripts before jumping into revision.
  3. Scan the whole manuscript without reading. Scanning can make big problems more obvious than a writer might not notice when reading closely.
  4. Read carefully. Take your time and read every word. Then, read it out loud. This will help you catch obvious errors and check for smoothness or the “flow.”
  5.  Look for ways to be more concise with your language. Can you turn a 15-word sentence into an 8-word sentence? Can you turn an 8-sentence paragraph into a 5-sentence paragraph? Less almost always means more for the reader.
  6. Use active voice over passive voice. There may be occasions for using passive voice, but for the most part be active.
  7. Vary sentence structure. Don’t fall into the trap of always writing: Noun + Verb + Noun = Sentence. Even if it’s grammatically correct, using the same pattern over and over again will make your manuscript boring. Don’t feel like you have to be creative with every sentence; just check that you’re not falling into a monotonous pattern.
  8. Save each round of revisions as its own file. Start with the first draft. Then, the second draft. Then, the third draft and so on. Saving these files provides a record of your changes and shows your development of the story.
  9. Have someone read the manuscript. The more eyes the better, because they’ll be more objective when reading, and they’re less likely to make “leaps of logic” than you, the writer, might. It is always best to ask someone other than a relative, who naturally will be biased.
  10. Print the manuscript for a final edit. There are things you’ll catch on paper that you won’t on the screen.

Take your time with revision. Set it aside for a few days, a week if you have the time. Then return to the work with a fresh attitude. Save your revised version in a separate file. Be sure you have addressed all of the editor’s comments. Do not ignore them. If there are some changes that you don’t agree with, write the editor a note explaining why the revision called for will change the meaning of your work. It’s best not to take exception to more than one or two editorial changes. If you and the editor are far apart on the way the piece is written, you may wish to withdraw the work and resubmit to another publisher. That, of course, is beyond the topic at hand.

Revision is necessary to polish the work for the reader, and the reader should be foremost in your mind. If you use these revision tips, you’ll be ahead with your revision process and find the editor is not the ogre you imagined.

 

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Most Obnoxious Salutation

“Hey” is “in” now but it is about the most obnoxious salutation I’ve heard. Kids say it to one another on the playground but I expect more from adults who are attempting to get my attention. It does get my attention, but in a negative way. I just delete the message without reading further. If you want to get my attention, start with”Hi” or “Mary”.

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Kiara King and the Enchanted Emerald

Kiara King - Cover

List Price: $11.95

5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
246 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1975677190

ISBN-10: 1975677196

BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic

Kiara grew up in a secret, magical city buried under the earth. She lives a happy existence in Emeraldo as the daughter of the queen, until her twelfth birthday when her parents are brutally murdered by the power-hungry Chief Administrator. Kiara escapes with her life, and the secret to ruling the city of Emeraldo. Finding herself in the strange Land Above, she discovers a new family kept secret from her. But safety doesn’t last, and when her family’s murderer follows her to her new home, she must use all her powers to protect herself and her new family

 

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New from Saguaro Books

BookCoverImage

List Price: $11.95

6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
274 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1548323608

ISBN-10: 1548323608
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic

Would you risk everything just to be cool?

Young Duggan McDuggan really has no choice. Her habit of talking to trees has made her the most teased kid in her village. Duggan would love to stop the teasing but there’s no way she’s going to give up her tree friends. And so she’s worked out a daring plan to journey with her two best friends to Eshmagick, ancient realm of the Faeries. This will certainly stop the teasing. No one in five hundred years has made it there and back again.

For their dangerous journey, Duggan and her friends will need a Faerie guide. Unfortunately, legend says harming a Faerie will bring down a terrible curse and it’s hard to catch a Faerie without hurting it. But when you’re as desperate as Duggan, no curse is too scary to stop you.

 

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Book Excellence Award Finalist

A Girl Named Mary 3D Book Stack

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October 3, 2017 · 9:29 am

Thanks

Thanks to all who participated in the Author TakeOver Event

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