Monday, September 21, 2015

Major Rewrites: Revising in Layers or Moving Mountains One Stone at a Time, Pt. 2

Welcome to part 2 of Revising in Layers or Moving Mountains One Stone at a Time.

If you have major novel rewrite ahead, the task can seem overwhelming. My goal with these posts is to break the process down in order to make your revisions less daunting.

If you didn't read part 1, you can find it here. Last week I outlined the first four steps:

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Outling the existing manuscript
  3. Thinning
  4. Subplotting
After all your new characters and subplots are outlined as described in step 4, it's time to move on to step 5.

5. Integrating
This is where the layers come in. One subplot or character at a time, I add the subplot outlined items to my manuscript outline. For me, this is just a couple words with an arrow pointing to where I'll insert it. In this step, I can arrange and rearrange the new subplot points until I have them where they make the most sense.

When I'm pleased with my outline, I add the new writing to the manuscript. Depending on how extensive my new subplots and characters are, this can entail anything from a couple sentences to entirely new scenes.

I continue this process until each and every new character and subplot is added to the manuscript. During this process, I don't worry about whether or not it flows. I'm simply add the information I need.

By working in layers, I can concentrate on one subplot or character at a time which allows me to fully enrich each new item and add necessary depth.

6. Comprehensive Editing
I now view the manuscript as a rough draft, so it's time to do a thorough edit with a critical eye. I need to see how it flows, if the new plot points and characters ended up in a logical place, if there are any places I need to insert new information. I need to examine if the new characters are in all the scenes they need to be in, and to look for proper transitions, pace, tone, and appropriate shifts in existing text.

7. Polishing
After making the necessary changes, I always do a second edit to ensure it's ready for an editor's or beta readers' eyes.

8. Happy Dancing
This was a huge undertaking. You overcame the discouragement, dug in and got the job done. Everybody click here to do the dance!

The words, "major rewrite" are the last thing most writers want to hear, but I hope that by having the tools to conquer what can seem like an impossible task, you can approach the process with a can-do attitude. And that's what I'm here to tell you--you CAN do it! So, get offline and start brainstorming!

Melinda Friesen, author of Enslavement, writes novels for teens and people like her who love to read YA. In two weeks, her daughter is getting married, so her writing time is succumbing to wedding planning.

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