Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Popping up from the Burrows of Revision

Howdy, folks! I'm just popping up for a quick hello. I've been tunneling my way through the cobwebby burrows with my YA novel revisions. This is my first dig into the 1st draft. Can I just say, PHEW! The revision process is exhausting, but so worth it.

I'm 38% done with my first round of revisions. Here are a few of the big issues so far:

  • Tense switches back and forth between past and present (ugh!).
  • Passive voice (mostly in the first pages).
  • Fragmenty *thought* talk. In the first quarter of the book, I explain waaaayyy too much thought!

I'm using a couple of books to help me through the revision process (one is still on order). Thanks, But This Isn't For Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected by Jessica Page Morrell. If you invest in one book to help you write / rewrite a fantastic story, this would be a great addition to your writing tools! I'm only on page 83 and I've learned a wealth of information so far. Jessica Morrell also blogs at:

Check out this book!
The Writing Life Too

Who wouldn't be intrigued with chapter titles such as:
Chap. 4     Striptease: Stirring in Suspense
Chap. 5     Blood, Roses, and Mosquitoes: Writing from the Senses

Check this out!
The other book, which I'm waiting patiently for is Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. I'm excited to read what this award-winning author has to say about revision. He actually has quite a few books on writing. Check out his website for more information.
James Scott Bell
*Both of these books can be found on Amazon (click on link below book images) and most major bookstores.

For now, while I stumble my way through this first round of revisions, I decided to come up with a color-coded legend. This could be done on a hard copy of your ms with colored highlighters or on the computer using the highlight function in Word. 

My first round of revisions will consist of reading and marking what doesn't work. Cutting / changing / editing text will come with the next round. This one is just for red flags. I'd like to share my legend with you:

Pink: cut or delete text
Blue: move X [quick note about where]
Green: add more here
Yellow: caution! Something is not working here
Orange / Red: Awkward word, phrase or tense issue

So far, it seems to be going smoothly. My inner editor, which usually has a loud mouth is wearing duct tape at the moment.

How about you? Any preferences when it comes to revisions? Care to share?


  1. Wow, you are far more organized than I am with revisions. I go through and delete and change what I don't like, over and over and over again.

    Then I send it to a CP and let her/him have her way with it!

  2. You've got a rainbow of organization. I'm so proud and may have to copy that...if'n you don't mind :-)

    1. Oh, have at it!!! I can't take all the credit. My youngest color codes her literature reads for class. She keeps a legend as well for her notes. She uses color coded sticky tabs and highlighters.

  3. You are an inspiration to me. Those flaws creep up on you, don't they? Oh, for the next 5 days, I am giving away BLOOD WILL TELL, a novelette where I explain what a rare blood courier does :

    And I channel Stephen King at the same time. LOL. He emailed me for royalites! I explained I was giving it away for nothing. He emailed me back saying that he was worth twice that! LOL. Roland

    Oh, and thanks for the links to the books, Roland

  4. Glad you're making such great progress! I've not heard of either of those books.

  5. Oh editing, how Lol :) I'm in the latter stages of revisions and they don't get any easier, but it is amazing to see how the writing progresses- evolving into something amazing. Crossing my fingers I get to read your MS someday!!

  6. Neat update on your work-in-progress. Groovy blog:)

  7. @Kelley, having the support of a CP or two is the best!

    @Angela, if you think my revision legend looks like a rainbow, you should see my manuscript so far. It gives new meaning to the word colorful!

    @Roland, Wow, I inspire you? I think it's the other way around! Thanks for the book. I plan on downloading the kindle reader thingy on my PC this evening! Thanks for the book. :)

    @Alex, Morrell's is hilarious and helpful. I also picked her her book about writing bad guys, called Bullies, Bastards and Bitches and it's superb! Bell's book is being delivered today.

    @Juliana, I wouldn't say I love editing, but it's growing on me! If I ever get it polished enough, you will be welcome to read it!!

    @Mark, Thanks for the comments and I think my blog is pretty groovy, too!!

  8. Thanks for the recommendations! I'm deep into revision myself and can use all the help I can get. I'm doing the color codes too, except with colored pens, so that I can write words in, as well as highlight the problems I find.
    Revision has been so much harder for me than writing the first draft, but I've learned a lot from it, and I dare say my subsequent first drafts have benefitted from it. :)
    Good luck as you go forward, and keep us posted on your progress!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Kirsten! Yes, I agree, drafting is so much easier. So did you print out a hard copy? Mine was so long, in the beginning, it literally would've taken up an entire ream of paper. :(

      I'll never again draft such a long novel!!! There was so much, blah, blah, blah in the first draft. Stop by anytime. :))

  9. You are doing an awesome job Candy Lynn with your editing and revisions. Well done for being so organized!

    1. Hi, Elizabeth! Thanks for your comments. :) The color coding is working quite well, so I thought I'd pass it along. I find when I'm not organized, nothing gets done. Are you still away your trip? Hope you had a wonderful time!

  10. I'm running through another set of revisions for my first book. I've put these revisions aside for a year because they touched every aspect of my book. Well, good news: They're done! Now I'm hunting for passive phrases, like you. Ugh, good luck with your WIP! I'm sure you're having a blast ;)

    1. Good luck with your next run through, Jack! Revisions are beginning to feel like running a marathon. Every time I get to a mile marker (chapter / scene), I think *C'mon, Candy, keep going. You can do this!*

      Just imagine, with each run through, your ms just gets better and better. :)

  11. I absolutely have to do revisions by hand. I print out the entire MS, get my red biro in my hand and scribble away until every page is covered in notes, lines, squiggles and stars.

    BTW You've been tagged! Check out my blog for 11 random questions to answer about yourself.

    1. Angeline, I know what you mean. I probably should should be doing this first one by hand as well. But, I've become such a paper saver these days, I just couldn't bare printing out all 384 pages! I did immediately cut the prologue (16,0000) and stuck it in a separate file. It still seemed like too much to print.

      I have thought about finding someone who needs to do some paper recycling, and I can print my ms on the clean side. Then once I'm all finished, I can shred and then recycle.

      I'll check around your blog in a bit!!

  12. Thanks for this info. I went to Amazon and checked out Bell's books which look pretty good to me.

  13. Yes, I've been captivated by his revision book so far! Good luck & hope you enjoy them.