I talked last week about dealing with my backlog (piece found here), and so it seemed apt that this week I talk about approaching revision when you're done with a project. Just to be clear on my definitions, for me revising is something the author does on their own, with input from betas and the like, while editing is when there's a professional editor involved. Your definition may vary, and that's okay, but just wanted to be clear for when I'm talking about it now.
When I get to the point of needing to revise a project, I'll usually be preparing it for the professional edit that will come in a few months from when I start. I've managed to get into a good routine of doing what when, but I also like to do some harder revisions earlier than that if I'm able to manage it. Like right now, I'm revising Invisible, which is the first in a young adult dystopian quartet, and I knew going in that I would want extra time to do it because I needed to engage sensitivity readers as well as beta readers. It's all worked out for me fine, but I am thinking ahead already about how to do the same with the second book, which I should start revising next April.
So how do you get ready to approach revision? I know that I did a five facts about my personal revision process a few weeks back (found here), and while I could just direct you there and call it done, I wanted to give a few tips and such that I don't personally use, but I know other writers do, and it works for them.
#1 KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE
This really only applies if you, like me, are only working on the project in the lead up to a already determined date. Like a deadline basically. With being indie, it's possible to be more flexible with your deadlines, so long as you've not made it impossible to do so. If you want to have this book with the editor by a certain date, then you need to work out how long that revision is going to take.
Now if this is a project that you've already been working on, that might be less of a problem. However, if this is the first time in a while, or the first time overall, that you've been starting to look back over and make revisions, then it's really important that you know the schedule for yourself. You need to know when you plan to hand it over, and what needs to be done by then.
#2 MAKE A PLAN
I'm not someone who plans when it comes to drafting, at least not in the way that a lot of writers who call themselves planners do. However, I do very much plan when it comes to revision. I will do a few readthroughs, pick up on plot points that need to be addressed and while I made small changes on those readthroughs I will mark the spots where the big ones need to happen.
I have, for a long time, only been someone who revises on the screen. I don't print things out and do revision that way, but if you do, and it works for you, then go for it. But however you decide to approach revision, make sure that you know what you're hoping to achieve, what needs to be changed, how it's going to be changed and all of that. It's all well and good thinking you'll remember all that you need to, but it so rarely happens, at least to me, so I make sure to write everything down. It's also a way to help you brainstorm when you get stuck too. Making a plan is a big help!
#3 BE REASONABLE WITH YOURSELF
I know that it's really easy to overload yourself, and to think that you'll be able to do all the revisions in a short space of time. I'm here to tell you that it might not be that quick, or that easy, and that's completely normal when it comes to revision. You might think it's just sitting down, banging out the words and boom done, but you gotta factor in things you didn't spot on the readthrough, or changes that your betas and such are suggesting that have a huge impact on the rest of the plot.
So be reasonable with yourself, make sure that you're making time for what actually needs to be done, and also have a little extra in case of mishaps. If you're like me, you'll plan everything and then get to the point where something has gone wrong and be wondering where to fit in the time. It's why I always have a buffer period between needing to be done by a certain date, and finishing the revisions themselves. It allows me to have some breathing room. Don't deny yourself that.
So there we go, that's all about approaching revision and all that goes with it. I know it can seem so daunting when you first make that list and realise just how much work you have to do, but it's also very much worth it in the end.
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
Monday 18 April 2022
Approaching Revision - The After Process