Tackling revisions can feel overwhelming, but if you head into your manuscript with a plan, you'll save yourself a lot of time. Everyone's revision process is going to look a little different, and that's okay. Some authors go through more drafts than others before they feel ready for querying. Some authors overwrite, and some underwrite. Find a process that works for your style, and you'll be happier when revising.
But even though authors' revision processes can look different on the outside, today's planning tip works for just about everyone.
Don't try to fix everything at once.
For one thing, you'll likely wind up in a never-ending loop of fixing one domino, only to realize you've knocked over a dozen other ones. And after you bury yourself in that mess of dominoes, finishing your revisions can seem impossible. So take a breath. Let some of the mistakes go. Give yourself permission to do multiple revision passes, and take as many drafts as you need.
Try focusing on one or two major things that need to be fixed per pass. Start with the deepest, most widespread problem first.
For example, if I'm revising a manuscript where I know I need to flesh out my main character more, I personally would tackle that before doing a dedicated pacing edit. If I want to add in more sensory details and visual scenery, that comes after dealing with bigger issues like making sure my character's voice is consistent. Because as I fix the characterization, many of the pacing problems get smoothed out as well. Nailing down the voice might deal with how the MC describes the world around her, and so I've already dealt with senses.
But if I tried to write those descriptive passages before I figure out her voice? Chances are I'm going to have to go back and revise those again, after doing the voice edit. If I alter the pacing before I figure out how my character responds to problems, I might have her reacting in ways that no longer make sense.
So before you start revising, figure out what your biggest problem is first.
Otherwise you might end up spending hours nudging random dominoes into place, only to realize that you've been building them into the wrong shape all along.
Every Wednesday and Saturday we bring you an edit tip of the day. Be sure to check out the archives for our popular summer series of SHOW DON'T TELL workshops!