Construction Zone: Post Revision Notes

Now that I’ve officially finished a set of revisions, I thought I’d share some of the things I found notable along the way. Obviously, your mileage may (and probably will) vary…

  • Good first drafts are like gold. Compared to Her Private Chef, which I am currently completely rewriting (and trying desperately not to lose interest in), the Tempest draft was far more coherent, with no veering off from the main plot, no “hey, think I’ll add this mid-stream”, no characters jumping in and out willy-nilly. It’s because I wrote it as a serial, and thus forced myself to stay on track. This is a good thing, because it made revisions so much more straightforward and less mind-boggling. I’m pleased that all of my drafts written after HPC have been like this, and aren’t nearly so daunting to consider revising.

  • One color pen is sufficient. Though if it works as I think it will, I’ll be doing “hard copy” edits on a kindle next time, which will mean no pens. As far as ink color goes, I prefer green. I have no idea why.

  • There are a million and one ways to write the same sentence. The trick for me was to vary sentence structure enough to keep it interesting, but not so much it became total chaos. Or so much that I totally ruined the sentence. I’m still not sure if I achieved that.

  • I just had to let some things go. I suppose I could have been rigid and meticulous about this, but since I gave myself a deadline, it forced me to just let certain things go that maybe should have been expanded or handled differently. The book is what it is. The next one will be better, and the one after that will be better yet. Perfection is not required, and frankly, if I went for that, I’d never do anything with any of my stories. They’ll never be perfect.

  • Revising is a completely different mindset for me, and I’m no longer really “in” the story when I’m doing revisions, but rather looking at it as a puzzle, making sure all the pieces fit together, and the joints are smooth and even. It’s a far more analytical process, and yes, I actually found myself enjoying it.

  • I do not need nearly as many commas as I start out with, and long sentences aren’t always a bad thing.

  • Legible handwriting would be very helpful in terms of time saved interpreting my own notes. Kindle may solve that problem.

So there you go. I had a good time revising Tempest, and I’m looking forward to delving into the revisions for Desert Heat in December after NaNo.

What are the most notable thing you’ve learned or are learning from the revision process? Inquiring minds…

4 comments on “Construction Zone: Post Revision Notes

  1. Sidni

    Great post Jamie. I’m nearing the end of my WIP and am looking forward to changing into revision mode. I especially liked your point on commas. What’s up with them? They plague me like locusts.

  2. Carol

    Seriously, stop it! 🙂

    I have a metallic green pen I use for editing hard copies and I have no idea why green instead of some other colour!

  3. Erica Chapman

    Great post! Glad you are finished with your revisions and that they went so well ;o) Revisions are interesting. For me it’s been more rewriting than editing.

    You’ll have to let us know how revising goes on the Kindle!

  4. Jamie DeBree

    Sidni, I know. Good grief on the comma thing. I think it’s mostly a pause in my thinking as I write, to be honest. So that becomes a comma on the page, if that makes any sense. Good luck with your revisions!

    No way, Carol! We really have to stop matching up like this… LOL

    Thanks Erica. Yeah, I’ve still got my huge rewrite hanging over my head, but I enjoyed the lighter revisions. I’m looking forward to trying the Kindle for that. It will save me paper, ink and time if that works out. 🙂