Tag Archives | Revision tips

Friday 5 – Revision tips for the under writers.

Some people over write. Some people under write. And, yeah, the latter would be me. Here are five areas I’ll be working on when I revise (in a couple weeks).

Internal thoughts:

  • Expand internal thoughts. My fault. Totally me. Deep down, I fear the reader will get bored, so I miss out on opportunities for the reader to connect.
  • Look at the importance of a scene and the weight of the event happening; and in proportion to those elements, expand the main character’s internal thoughts. Not just fluff or padding. Thoughts that dig deep and deal with emotion.
  • Delete the repetitive thoughts from chapter to chapter.


  • Flesh out the setting with more specific details and sensory details.
  • Tweak it so the setting is part of the emotional tone and written in the voice of the main character.
  • Make sure the details are important to the story.
  • Show the characters interacting with the setting.

Secondary Character emotions:

  • My first draft is all about the main character. I try and flesh out my secondary characters beforehand but I need a pass to add depth.
  • Through their body language, facial expressions, dialogue, and through the reactions of the main character, I try to show that these secondary, but important, characters have goals and struggles too. And that they are the hero in their story.

Important scenes:

  • Often times, the key scenes are there, but I need to revise a bit, which usually means adding words, to show the emotional impact on my main character. Usually, I need to slow time down and add more action beats.
  • Make sure a scene follows the action/reaction sequence.
  • Check that my character shows enough of a reaction to important events. And most importantly, check that the main character is the one making choices and dealing with the consequences.

Backstory/set up

I know, I know. Most people need to eliminate info dumps and backstory. But I commit the opposite sin and withhold too much. Again, maybe it’s fear that I’ll slow down the action or bore the reader? Our reader should always understand what’s going on in a scene. The mysteries and secrets are different from a well-executed set up in the opening chapters. My crit partners usually help me figure out when I need more backstory. And adding it in the right way is a whole ‘nother issue!

Are there any other under writers out there?  If you’re an over writer, what problem areas do you have to revise? Tell all!

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