Tag Archives | How to revise your novel

How to form a quick revision list for your weaknesses.

I don’t know about you but I’ve seen some pretty awesome revision check lists out there. One problem. I look at a list of 101 questions and I feel totally overwhelmed after the tenth question. I go into shut down mode, start babbling, and walk away from my computer to do dishes. #notreally #butclose

But, in one week, I’m passing off my manuscript to two beta readers. I want it to be as good as I can get it. One week. Fifty chapters. I need a plan.

I’ve already done macro-edits. I’ve compared my story structure to the Blake Snyder beat sheet and passed. Not to say my betas won’t spot something I missed. But I’ve rewritten many chapters, combined others, added several, totally axed others.

And I’ve read through the whole thing on my Kindle, took notes where I could add emotion; and then went through and stretched moments. Because that is a major weakness I’m working on.

I’ve checked for basic scene structure during macro edits:

  • Goal, obstacle, conflict. Is the goal clear?
  • Could the conflict be heightened?
  • Does this chapter contributes to both the plot and character development?
  • Does the chapter end at a different emotional point than it started? If not, why?
  • Find the emotional turning point – could it be heightened?

My (known) weaknesses:  (Make a list of your weaknesses.)

  • I’m an underwriter in almost every area.
  • I assume the reader knows everything, sometimes leaving them confused.
  • I tend to skim over setting details or not incorporate the character’s emotion.
  • I tend to overuse the same senses or not use enough.
  • The character’s body language can be vague or cliché.

So here’s my quick revision list based on my weaknesses: (Create your own list based on your weaknesses.)

  • At the start, did I ground the character in the setting?
  • Could I add more specific details?
  • Do I show my character’s emotional reaction to the setting or any character description or did I just make a list?
  • Did I start and end my chapter at the right place? Is there a hook at the end?
  • Could I add more sensory details?
  • Is there enough believable build-up to an emotional moment, out burst, or turning point?
  • Did I show my character’s reaction to these moments and turning points?
  • Be more specific and original with body language.

And that’s all I’m going to do. For now. Well, truth be told, if there are any awkward sentences or typos I’ll fix them because I might not spot them later. But this isn’t fine-tuning or polishing. That will come later.

What are areas you need to revise for? As an underwriter is there anything else I should look out for?

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