I’ve been in a constant stage of revision since December. That’s almost SEVEN MONTHS, you guys. Granted, it's been between two different stories, but my brain has been in overdrive. The end is in sight, though, and now I’m here to share my top four revision tips.
- Promises made, promises kept.
This was a big one for me. When you spend a while with a particular manuscript, you may forget that tiny mention you made in chapter one. If you introduce a plot point into the story (promise made), even if it’s minor, make sure it’s resolved by the end of the story (promise kept). Don’t gyp your reader.
- Each character has a mind of his/her own.
We don’t want cardboard cutouts. It’s so easy and convenient to let a secondary character (or even a main character) fall into a stereotype. And sometimes the stereotype can be valid (there are mean cheerleaders, etc.), but don’t take the easy way out. Everyone has a personality--let it shine.
- The underneath is just as important as what’s on the surface—maybe even more so.
As much as I love dialogue, there has to be more to a story than people talking to each other. Giving the reader a peek into the character’s thoughts, even by inserting one or two lines, can make all the difference. If you have chunks of dialogue throughout the manuscript, consider adding a bit of internal thought. (Note that I said "consider." Too much internal monologue can hurt a scene's flow. It's a delicate balance. Use it wisely.)
- Give yourself some grace.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m not working fast enough.” Trust me, I know this all too well. STOP IT. Creating something great takes time. Think about your CP for a moment. If they came to you crying and said, “I’m a failure. I missed three days of revision last week and I’m so far behind. You don’t even know,” what would you tell that person? Would you nod and say, “Yeah, you pretty much suck”? No. (Well, I hope not.) You’d (hopefully) tell that person not to be so hard on themselves. Do the same for yourself.