I’m currently in the middle of doing revision for the sequel of the Awoken Dragon and I wanted to share some of the process with you!
I’ve heard a lot of advice that you should start with the big problems and then work your way into smaller details. I agree and follow it, to a point.
I start with reading over the feedback I’ve gotten from my beta reader(s). Usually I get a few new ideas, though they’re not always related to the specific chapter, and write them down for later.
My revisions tend to happen in layers. If I get feedback from multiple betas, I go through them one by one. The feedback which feels more detailed to me gets to go first in most cases. And then I edit, from the beginning of the chapter to the end of the chapter, spelling mistakes and all.
But it’s never that easy, is it?
I don’t mind leaving gaps in the chapter. If there’s a bigger section that needs a complete rewrite, depending on the situation, I might just let it be at first. I bold and underline it (or use a bright highlight color), and then move on. For me it’s easier to come back and craft the missing section when I know what happened before it and what’s happening after it. Sometimes I have to make changes to the following parts but it’s rarely anything major.
Once I’ve gone through the chapter with one feedback, I switch to the next and go over it again. I usually have a good idea about the changes I’m going to make before I start revising so if I remember a certain suggestion, I might leave the part unedited until I get to the right set of feedback. It saves me the trouble of having to re-edit something I’ve already edited.
After I’ve used all feedback, I read the chapter again to make sure there are no continuity errors and also to have a fresh picture of it as a whole. Then I move on to the next chapter. Repeat.
Missing chapters are a little trickier. Sometimes I instantly have an idea for a missing chapter and it comes flying out. In those cases I write the chapter in the right spot, meaning I edit Chapter 4, write a whole new Chapter 5, and then edit Chapter 6. But sometimes I need more time to figure out exactly what needs to be in it. I might edit all existing chapters before getting back to it. This approach does from time to time cause continuity errors, but that’s why we read through our stories about a million times during the editing stage.
So, since I tend to blabber at this late hour, let’s sum up my editing/revising process for one chapter:
- Read through all available feedback and think it over for x number of days (x depends on the length of the chapter and the amount of feedback)
- Choose which set of feedback to start with and start editing from the beginning
- Insert clear marks where a scene is missing or needs a complete rewrite
- Make notes of bigger changes that will affect other chapters
- Read through the whole chapter
- Move on to the next set of feedback and repeat steps 3-5
- Write missing scenes
- Read through the chapter again
- Fix mistakes
- Move on to the next chapter
And once every chapter has been edited, I send it off for another round of feedback.
When the sequel starts getting closer to its final form, I was thinking about making a more detailed post that shows the original page and what changes I made to it.
Does this sound similar to your process? Did this sound confusing or maybe helpful?