Reworking your MS is never an easy feat. I’ve been through 3(?) revisions now. If you’re wanting to count the time I tore my MS to shreds and started over. Every time you would think it get’s easier. That this time around you’ll pull it all together and dive right in no questions asked.
It’s a lie we tell ourselves to make it easier, cause revising never get’s easier.
Even if it’s just doing simple grammar and spelling checks, it’s still a daunting task because you know you’re going to have to comb through 60.000 + word to find the ones that stick out like a sore thumb, and then do it again to find the ones that remained hidden from plain sight.
Not an easy task at all.
Especially when you want to throw in the rules of grammar that say ‘you can’t do this unless it’s after this….’ yada, yada, yada.
I hate grammar. I loved English class in high school because they would hand me a book and tell me to read, but otherwise, I hated it. Go figure I would find myself wanting to do something that requires I brush up on those skills. Which, after a recent bout of feedback, I am currently looking for ways to do so on a budget. Spending $100 some odd dollars on an online course that may or may not teach me anything useful is a bit questionable for me at the moment.
So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
That being said, I have gone through the revisions process a few times, and though my grammar suffers, I’ve learned a few ways to go through this process without so much hassle.
First off, you have to have a game plan. Rather it is a simple start at point A and slowly migrate to points, B, C, and D, or writing out endless tasks lists with each every step spelled out for you is up to you.
Me, personally, I prefer the tasks list. I like having something tangible that I can look at. See where my big problem areas are and cross it off as I go. That’s why this time I’m doing my planning in my Bullet Journal. With lists, and collections and day to day tasks that need to be completed before I can move onto the next step. Ambitious, I know, but somethings got to work somewhere. Might as well start mapping it out and building up that plan to find out if it’ll fly or perish.
(probably perish, in a mountain of hot lava, never to be seen again.)
Once you have that extremely long list sitting in front of you or burned somewhere in your brain, you may find that the biggest issues are a bit too much to take on at the moment. That’s fine. Nobody said you had to work this thing in order or take on the biggest rewrites firsts. Start small, go over those pesky grammar spots, and cross those off your lists. Searching out inconsistencies, a name change here or the change of color to Micheal’s hair there. You know those small things that may or may not drive the readers mad. I for one am a sucker for consistency. If you have a dogs name as Louis on page four, it’d better not be Lenny or Barker on page sixty.
Then move to the bigger stuff. Those whole scenes that require you to completely rewrite, or that character that needs their head screwed on straight through the entire story. Those things can come later, when you are far more comfortable with making changes in your MS. Like being able to delete whole chapters, or characters, or whatever it is that’s going to make your story better. If you can’t make those major changes that you know will make your story ten times better just because you really love a particular scene, or line then you’re going to have problems. You have to be able to sacrifice your favorite scenes for the overall outcome of the book.
It’s one of those ‘Go big or go home’ scenarios that we find ourselves in from time to time.
All that being said, sometimes it’s better to just take a step back from your MS. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Taking time away from any project can give you a better perspective. Getting feedback on your story and knowing what needs to be changed is no different.
Yes, after that initial read through of the all the feedback you may just want to shred your MS and delete every single string of its existence, but don’t.
Let it sit. Give yourself time to think of what needs to be done to improve the story and who knows, sometimes that time gives you a chance to think up better scenarios. Way to make the plot points stronger and far more exciting. Just give yourself some space to think and then, again, come back with a fresh head and willingness to work on something that you know is going to be great someday.