Years ago I heard a very wise writer say, “Writing is rewriting.” Never truer words have been spoken. When we type the words “the end” on the last page of our first draft, it’s one big lie.
It’s not over. It’s just beginning.
The first draft is euphoric. It’s creative. It’s passion flowing out of you. Okay, maybe I went too far with that one. But I can safely say that the first draft is magical. We’ve created something tangible. From our minds, from our random thoughts, we’ve managed to tell a story and put it on paper. If that’s all you want, then all you need to do is to start your next book.
If you want to be published, it’s time to dig in and do some serious work.
Revisions are hard. So, I’ve come up with 5 tips to make the process less painful.
Set your manuscript aside for at least 24 hours, but I suggest a whole week. You’ve been focused on your manuscript for so long that you aren’t able to look at it objectively
You’ve spent some time away from your manuscript and now you can be critical. And the best way is to read aloud. Don’t trust your eyes to spot the weak spots in your manuscript. Reading aloud forces you to slow down and speak every word.
Lose the passive voice
It creeps in there no matter how much we try and keep it out of our manuscript. Don’t allow the object of an action to become the subject of a sentence. Look for sentences like, “The ball was thrown by Junior,” and replace with, “Junior threw the ball.” My writing tends to slide into passive voice so easily and honestly, I never saw it coming.
Cut, cut, cut unnecessary words
Some words to cut would be, “that,” “each and every,” “it”. Sure, you need some of them but not too many. Do a search on your manuscript for these types of words. You’ll find that you can easily cut them out and you’ll end up with stronger sentences.
Have you transitioned well?
Check for smooth transitions between chapters, paragraphs and scenes. You never want your reader to feel like she’s riding waves with your work. You want it all smooth.
There you have it, my 5 simple tips to revising. And since I’m near the end of revising, I am employing them all. It’s a hard job, it’s a tedious job, but it’s a job that is as important as writing the first draft.