Thursday, February 28, 2013

Revise or revision?

I always like to know the meaning of words so when I wrote out the word revision in my title up there for this post, I had to stop and think about it. What is revision? Is it the remaking of something? Does the word mean revisiting? Here is the dictionary's overview:

revision [rɪˈvɪʒən]
1. the act or process of revising
2. (Social Science / Education) Brit the process of rereading a subject or notes on it, esp in preparation for an examination
3. (Communication Arts / Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) a corrected or new version of a book, article, etc.

This was not helpful, because it was not what I wanted to talk about. So back I went. To look up revise:

tr.v. re·vised, re·vis·ing, re·vis·es
1. To prepare a newly edited version of (a text).
2. To reconsider and change or modify: I have revised my opinion of him. See Synonyms at correct.
n. Printing (rvz, r-vz)
A proof made from an earlier proof on which corrections have been made.

That is actually more along the lines of what revise or revisions mean to me.

Now how do I do it? That is the subject today.

I write my first draft all the way through, and yes, I am a discovery writer as Brandon Sanderson calls us. That is to say, I invent my stories as I go. Then once I am all the way finished with the story, I let it sit for a time. Don't look at it, don't tinker with it, go off and write something else. Do a lot of reading. Then come back and do draft two. This draft is the one where I am looking to eliminate unnecessary words, and rewrite sentences that are just not written well. I also add in a bit of color to the page, i.e. I sometimes have the white page syndrome where there is no setting. Then almost immediately upon finishing that draft, I go straight into fixing story. That is because now I have re-read the whole work and know pretty much what needs fixing.

Once I am finished with that draft, I go back and do another check for words, sentence structure, and story. I take another short break from the work, considering some what if possibilities. If those do not work for me, I know I am good to do a final polish. If they do work for me, and the story, I may make a new copy of the work and try out the new what ifs. Sometimes it is my writer's mind just tinkering. Sometimes it is my creative mind making the work better. It is trial and error to discover.

Then, if all is well, and the polish is finished, it is time to go out to be read by first readers. Usually these are my friends who are writers and big readers. I take all that input and incorporate it or consider it, and do another draft, and another polish. Then I begin the work of query and synopsis, and that, dear Murderer, is a whole post unto itself.


Hart Johnson said...

Your process is very much like mine. Write relatively fast, not revising as I go (I work from a timeline). Then it has to SIT(couple months? A year?) when I come back, I read it, making small corrections, then immediately fix all the big stuff, then read it again with more thought to pacing, wording, cutting the fat... then first readers.

Kim Smith said...

So glad to see you here. I am glad I am not alone in a methodical revision approach.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

My process is exactly like Hart's - I usually wait about a year before I tackle a book, and then I can't believe the stuff I wrote. Some I hate and some I love - pretty funny when you think about it! Thanks, Kim, for another good one!