As I was writing it, I knew that the real battle for me was going to be rewriting it. I love editing . . . other people's work. Editing my own is intimidating.
And yet, I love editing. I just needed something to get me past the psychological wall of it being my work that I had to edit. Me being me, that something I needed was a plan. Plans don't make the future safe, of course, but they surely make it feel safe.
So here's the plan. I can't vouch for its entire virtue, as I'm still in the middle of it myself, but it seems sturdy as far as I've ventured. And hopefully it can help other type J's out there to dive into the process of revision: don't worry folks; the water is warmer than it looks.
Jess Snell's Editing and Rewriting Plan:
1) Print out the whole book, double-spaced.
2) Print out all my “go back, and change” notes that I’ve made while writing.
3) Copy and paste into a document all beta reader notes (in the story’s chronological order), and print that document out.
4) Make a list of all “tics” (like passive verbs and comma abuse) that I have, and make a list of those – one sheet if possible, because these will have to be checked for on every page. (Use notes from read-through of The First Five Pages to help come up with this list.)
5) Go through the hard copy of the book with lists/docs from points 2, 3 & 4 in hand, and mark up whatever changes need to be made. (This means going through the whole story at least three times.)
6) After all these changes, read through the whole thing and make note of:
- any BIG plot or character changes that need to be made
-scenes that need to be entirely rewritten
-scenes that need to be added
-scenes that need to be erased.
7) Rewrite all things noted in Step 6 – printing out and inserting new material into marked-up hard copy, and crossing out old scenes where necessary.
8) THEN, take that marked-up, patched-together copy, and retype the whole book from the marked-up hard copy. In other words, I’m going to literally rewrite the whole book, so that every word passes under my fingers one more time, forcing me to pay attention, and make any final tweaks that would be beneficial.
9) And THEN (this is the really hard part), print out the whole thing again, and then mark it up again, make sure all the changes work, etc. Then make these changes in the final document.
There you go. That's the plan. Have at it, and happy New Year!
Peace of Christ to you,
p.s. If this ends up being useful to you, fill free to use it, print it out, share it, whatever, just attribute it to me and include a link back to this blog. Thanks!