The majority of my writing time is spent editing and revising. Sadly, I rarely am actually writing new stuff to progress my stories. It’s been so long, I scarcely remember what it’s like to have the freedom to write whatever I want (I’m not just tying bits together, or adding more info or dialogue, basically just constantly fixing my story). Nonetheless, there are many ways to approach editing and revision.
The read out loud method:
Try reading your WIP (Writing in Progress) out loud. It’s amazing the places you will stumble, or things that just don’t sound right. It’s a great editing tool, even if it takes a while. Variations could include: having someone else read it out loud to you, read it to someone, or just read it alone.
Seeing it in different formats:
I’ve been using this method for a long time, but only in that I print out my WIP and edit longhand (similar to receiving a marked-up version of a school paper). This past year, I started using Google Docs, a really cool application for the iPhone or iPad and even laptop and desktop computers. The best thing about Google Docs is the convenience of having my book always with me and it easily accessible through any device I own, as long as I’m near an Internet connection (if not, I can copy and paste into a notepad on my phone and move it later).
I recently discovered a couple days ago while reading a post on my favorite writing bloggers’ site, Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. The post was on preparing your book for ebook publication. I used some of the formatting tips on my WIP, and viewed it on my phone with Google Docs. Now I have a different way to look at my book — almost like a REAL published ebook. It’s fun, but also helps with finding mistakes and places that just don’t sound or look right.
Lastly, have someone else critique it:
There’s no better way to get some space from your WIP than by letting someone else read it. They can help spot areas you gloss over. As a writer, you have the entire story in your head, but maybe it just didn’t come out that way on paper. It’s good to have a second set of eyes, or a third, fourth, and so on. The biggest obstacle I have is getting angry and defensive about my work. Set aside ego and take constructive criticism!!
How do you edit and revise? Any good tips that work for you?