Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Revision II: The Long and Arduous Journey

After spending the night in the Chicago airport, I'm back, and here's another posting about revision.

I'm no expert at revision.

But I do not shrink from hard work.

Let me describe to you how I revise (stories and novels, not blogs, usually):

1. Print out draft. If I'm working with a large draft, I usually print out the entire thing. Hard copy. Even if its 200 pages.

2. I start reading. And marking. And adding. And crossing out. I usually work with one chapter at a time, and go from there. I add extra pages (college-ruled) and mark the extra paragraphs with numbers in the margins. If I want to add more in a section and am not ready, I indicate "ADD MORE HERE" and move on. I focus on one chapter at a time, reviewing, adding, striking out, adding sections, and taking notes on an external outline.

3. Go to the next chapter and do the same.

4. After the story/novel/whatever is complete, I review it. I double check my outline (already completed prior to first draft) for consistent details, and make sure I understand my notes.

5. Then, I open a new, blank Word document. I start with the beginning, and I type the entire version from the beginning, adding my changes and alterations.

6. Repeat the process from the beginning. Print, notate, and retype.

This is a tedious, lengthy process. I find that printing a hard copy helps me to read the words differently and more carefully than reading on a computer screen. Also, writing by hand and jotting notes in the margins is easier for me to keep organized and visualize spacially. Finally, typing the entire piece over helps me process and revise the piece, walking through the words as I write them.

However, I find this works well for me, and whatever works for me does not necessarily work for anyone else.

What revision techniques work best for you?

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