Sooz’s Guide to Revisions, Lesson 6: Typing in your changes and feeling GOOD.
Wow. You did it. You finished Lesson 5, and now you’re almost at the end! Can you FEEL THE EXCITEMENT?
This lesson will be (compared to the others) a piece of cake. The first part is completely mindless.
Supplies Needed Today:
- A computer
- Your revised, scrawled-upon manuscript
- A comfy chair
Typing It All In
As the title suggests, you will be taking your novel and typing in the changes. Some pages will require more work, some will be easy. But you will go page-by-page until you’ve reached the end of your manuscript.
You’ll find a rhythm, but it will still take a while. Don’t get annoyed or discouraged–be grateful you can zone out after all that hard work!! And, remember: when you finish, you’ll be done! This MS will be ready for other eyes!
Dealing With Line Edits
This is one of those steps that, sadly, I cannot teach you. Mostly because everyone’s style is different. What I think is lovely, you might hate.
Another reason I can’t teach you is that I simply don’t have time to train you in the more stylistic tools of the trade (from punctuation and grammar to voice and diction). I will assume you already have this wrench in your toolbox.
Line-edits are critical. If your novel doesn’t flow, then that agent/editor probably won’t be interested.
So when to do this important step?
The easy answer is LAST. Just like you would if you were working with a publishing house, line-edits are the final step in revising.
The more advanced answer is WHEN YOU CAN. I find that my second draft is usually pretty smooth, but if I print it out (poor trees–I know!) and read the MS again, I’ll find areas that need polishing. Yes, it takes time and requires more typing-in later, but it’s the only way I can really iron out my prose.
You might find you can line-edit well enough during the written changes–Lesson 5. Or perhaps you can line-edit while you type-in (this lesson). It’s really up to you to find out what works.
And that, my friends, is it. I have nothing left to teach you–or nothing I can conjure at this precise moment.
You should be really freakin’ proud of yourself right about now. You just conquered a novel. A WHOLE NOVEL! And the manuscript you now possess is without a doubt ten bazillion times stronger than the one you started with.
You rock. I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of you to.
Now go have a cookie. You totally earned it.
And, as always, if you have ANY questions, ask them in the comments!!
Lesson 1 → Lesson 2 → Lesson 3 → Lesson 4 → Lesson 5 → Lesson 6 →
May 20, 2011 @ 6:55 pm
I followed you over from Let the Words Flow. This series of posts is great! I was wondering, though, if you had all of these posts available as PDFs? (I know you provided a link to the PDF of the introduction.) Thanks!
May 20, 2011 @ 6:56 pm
Hi Anju!! The PDFs are all available on the For Writers page (see link at the main menu above?). Just scroll down and you’ll see EVERYTHING there. 😀
May 20, 2011 @ 8:33 pm
Thank you! The timing of these posts was perfect. I’m about to start revising my book, and just the thought of revising it was making me feel a overwhelmed.
May 21, 2011 @ 11:20 pm
This Revision series is great!! I’m in the middle of revisions and I feel like I follow a similar path to this, but I am nowhere NEAR as organized, so I constantly feel like I’m forgetting to fix something, or losing my train of thought for a subplot, etc. I’m going to try some of your tips here–thanks so much! It looks like it will really help keep everything in order and hopefully be a lot less stressful.
July 19, 2011 @ 2:04 pm
Many thanks! I’ve been flailing about with revising my WIP one scene at a time, without consciously looking at the big picture.
May 12, 2014 @ 6:32 pm
You may have saved me – still reading your process.
I started editing my second novel in January – which was written back in 2011. Since then I’ve written lots more, read about writing and editing, and edited and published Book 1 of the series. So I have lots of ideas of changes to make and no idea how to go about it this time. I did edit one pass, slowly and without much enthusiasm, then fired it off to an alpha-reader. It was not even beta reader ready. Now have lots of great suggestions from her – high and low level – but I feel I still haven’t looked at it closely enough to see what my own changes should be.
Your process looks like it might fit the bill. I just have to remind myself that reading about a different revision process is not necessarily procrastination!
August 17, 2015 @ 7:32 am
OK. So, I’ve printed everything and I’m planning on revising my novel starting from september. Meanwhile, I’m just letting everything sink down.
Thank you for this “how to”. It makes me feel like I know what I’m doing ahah.
July 21, 2017 @ 1:56 am
Just saying- if you retype the entire novel instead of going through and typing up the changes, then you can do line-edits and add in the changes all in one instead of going through and typing the changes in and THEN doing line-edits. May sound complex, but saves time.