Happy New Year, everybody! We're officially in the next decade and 2011 is going to rock! I can feel it.
Okay, so revisions aren't traditionally fun, but who says it has to be that way?
This year, if you don't have a critique partner (or group), get a few. Find them here or here or here.
Write, revise and edit on your own, and then trade critiques with someone else who either writes or reads in your genre.
Revising will be a heck of a lot more fun when you have company.
Here are my goals for 2011:
1. Finish my current YA urban fantasy with sci-fi elements.
2. Reread it for cohesiveness and flow. Draw arrows and be open to big picture changes. Look for high emotional stakes, rising conflicts, and character arcs.
3. Make necessary changes. Let sit for a week or two while I critique for my CPs and cleanse my palate of my own work.
4. Reread again slowly for language problems, redundancies, weak word choice or purple prose.
5. Use the five senses test to see if my readers can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the world in 3D the way I do. If not, add in the sensations.
6. One last line-edit for mechanics, spellings, etc.
7. Submit to beta-readers. Listen to all suggestions. Implement the ones that make sense.
8. Let the work sit for another few weeks. Reread again. Make any glaring changes. If none, start querying.
I figure this process will take me through March. I'm tempted to finish writing and send it off before the market gets swarmed with ideas too similar to mine (it's happened and it was tragic), but I know revision is a vital step. I'd rather risk similar books coming out than submit something less than my best.
The easiest part for me is the mechanical editing. I'm sure I miss things here or there, but mostly I'm pretty good at cleaning up my own writing. The hardest thing will be story structure and emotional stakes. Those are aspects I feel leave room for improvement. I think you'll agree they're pretty important! So it'll be worth the extra work to get my MS in shape before querying. I'll feel done when I can read through it without that nagging doubt that something's not quite right. When perfectionist-me can read over it and feel satisfied, then it will be done*.
*No book is ever done until it's printed, but for the sake of the querying stage, I'll be done.
New to the party?
Add your link and groove to the imaginary beat. Since it's all in your head, it can't be bad, right?
Revision is often touted by published authors, agents, and editors alike as the most important step in getting a book published. Incredible things can happen for us in 2011 if we make revision a priority rather than an afterthought. Enjoy your New Year!!