Writing Revisions

I’m currently revising my book, it’s a daunting task. I’ve read lots of posts and articles on the ‘best’ way to revise. Then all the articles talking about when you are actually ‘done’ revising. What I’ve realized is that everyone’s process is different just like every book is. I’d like to share the process I’m using as a collaboration of ideas I’ve come across.

Here are the steps I’m currently taking as I trudge through the swamp of revision.

  1. Format. Create your chapters and make it look like a book. It’s so exciting to print it off, I go to a printer so I can say, ‘This is my book.’ You worked hard, show it off a little.
  2. Plug plot holes. First time through my story I only concentrate on making everything flow between chapters and fixing any plot problems. For me, this actually changed my story so much I’m glad I hadn’t changed anything else yet.
    TIP: Walk away from your story for a little bit. I suggest at least 15 minutes per page (So 100 pages is 1500 minutes or 25 hours.) This keeps your mind ready to see mistakes.
  3. Check for clarity. I read through with a highlighter and mark up anything that does not sound authentic or I mentally stumble over. I suggest you do the read through while marking it up and fix it afterward. This keeps your mind in flow without stopping every paragraph to re-write.
  4. Check your words. This is different from clarity because you are looking at the descriptions and words you use. You want to use the best word for what is in your head. Did he walk upstairs or did he trudge upstairs? Trudge is far more expressive. Are you using all five senses in your writing? Keep your dictionary handy for this part.
    TIP: “Sin & Syntax” is my go to reference book for this part.
  5. Check grammar and spelling. I put this near the end because you are changing words and format up to this point. However, I do fix some as I go in prior steps just because they bug me.

    KEY: Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t try to look for all the problems on the first read through.

  6. Read it aloud. This by far is the hardest part. But you are so close. Reading out loud forces your mind to catch things you will have missed in prior edits.

Congratulations! You have revised a book and are ready for beta readers! I personally do not get any beta readers prior to a thorough revision. No one (especially an agent or publisher) wants to read a book with the above issues rampant on every page. Best to be polite and do the work now.

What process do you use for revision? Did any of these suggestions work well for you?

6 thoughts on “Writing Revisions

  1. I think you’re right that every writer’s revision process is different, but your key is the one thing all should have in common: focus on one thing at a time. It gets so messy and time consuming when you don’t.


  2. […] For example, Do not ask, “Is so-and-so too boring a character?” A better question would be, “Do you find any characters boring or out of touch?” Let the reader decide, instead of planting a character in their minds. If you come up with ‘problem’ questions than you should revise those areas BEFORE you use beta readers. Beta readers catch things you have missed and give a reference on how close to market you are. They are not there to check your spelling, grammar, or fill your plot holes. They may find some of those things but you should have fixed those already. To learn more on revising check out my Revisions Post. […]


  3. I think that beta readers help a lot with this process because they make you look at your work again. Sometimes in a different way. And an awesome one will catch a lot of the weirdnesses in your manuscript. I think staring at grammar and punctuation makes me crazy. That’s why I’m a beta reader 🙂 Good luck with your book. I like your blog


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