Making A Revision Plan

I’m still working on the Song revision pass, and part of that is making a plan to guide and track those revisions.

Last year I had a good plan for revising Livia, but I didn’t take any notes on how I compiled it. This blog post, therefore, is in part here to act as a reminder for me of how to make a plan to follow.

  1. collect all the notes you have. These could come from several places:
    • inline manuscript comments – when I am writing, I often embed remarks about the text I’m writing in square brackets.
    • typo review comments – the initial review pass reveals many other things I need to address, scribbled in red pen on the page.
    • reader comments – if the book has been out to readers, they may have feedback to draw on
    • additional review comments – I will often do another review pass after the typo corrections because I find it easier to think about the structure and other elements of the story if the text errors aren’t getting in the way any more.*

    For Livia I had all of these sources to draw from, although for Song right now I only have the inline and typo review comments.

  2. sort the comments into buckets. This allows similar things to be worked on at the same time, but also helps flag any larger problems: if you see lots of notes about people knowing things at the wrong time, then you may have a timeline problem you need to fix.

    There are lots of ways to organise these: by character, by location, by artifact. My initial buckets are by level of detail:

    • structural – things about the way the story is told overall
    • detail – specifics about one scene or character
    • copy – issues with the precise text

    For Song, there are some serious timeline issues to deal with, so I am going to figure that stuff out before doing another structural review.

  3. group and combine similar items
  4. work through all of them – tick them off as you go, track how many you’ve fixed and how many are left
  5. don’t be afraid to add more – you’ll find more issues as you are fixing other things so keep adding items in the proper place. Similarly, I mentioned various ways to sort the items earlier and it can be a good idea to rearrange them in different ways.

That’s what I do, anyway. How do you organise your revision?

[*] I really struggle to see past typos in my own writing, which is why I am always unconvinced whenever I see the advice to leave fixing grammar and typos until the underlying structure of the book is solid. I really have to fix the typos so the content is visible to me.

2 Replies to “Making A Revision Plan”

  1. William A. Beaulieu says:

    This is a good overview. I hope that you will do more like this as you go. Sometimes helping others like this is the best medicine for your own challenges so thank you so much for sharing this insight.

    1. Dunx says:

      thank you. I already have the beginnings of the next post I will write on this kind of mechanical topic, so rest assured there will be more of these!

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