How I plan revisions

So I finished my first draft, and sat on it.

Though I know which parts I’m going to tackle when I do start my revisions, I just feel that it’s better to plan out what exactly I’m going to do. I guess it’s consistent with how I wrote my WIP, with an outline and a breakdown of what happens in each chapter. I just like to lay out my path instead of blindly plunging into the underbrush.

So I’ve been taking some time to think about how I’ll do my revisions. My first draft is really really rough. It has holes the size of moon craters. I’ve left lots of notes to myself on how to fix things. There are fragments, CAPITALIZED WORDS, exclamation points!!!, emotion prompts, and so on. There are many things that need fixing.

And fix it I will!

First revision

Plot. I have changed things in my original story, and some parts may or may not mesh seamlessly with others. For example, in my outline, I had sled dogs helping out some scientists in the North Pole. My MC has an encounter with the “sharp-nosed canines”. As I was writing, I realized it would probably be cruel to expose the dogs to the sub-zero temperatures of my setting. And, also, modern polar expeditions use snowmobiles, which cover much more ground in a shorter period of time, and which don’t require perishables to be stocked for them. When I changed that part of the story, I probably didn’t clean up completely. So, in my first round of revision, things like this will have to be fixed.

I will also try to fix glaring errors in point of view as I go. I know that the opening scene will have to be scrapped because of this. I’ve realized that there’s a pretty jarring transition in what I have now. And, the opening is rather boring. So out it goes!

Second revision

Setting. I need, need, need to get the setting right for my WIP. It’s essential that I capture the right feel (cold, biting, freezing cold ALL THE TIME!). However, though the environment itself is sub-zero, my MC doesn’t really mind it, because she lives there. So I have to strike a balance here, to portray the correct environment, without making it seem that my MC is suffering through it.

There is also joy and light and magic that need to be captured in my descriptions.

Third revision

Character. This is when I plan to make sure that my characters are real and believable. I’m wondering at this point whether this should be higher up on the revision list. But this is just a plan, OK? It might still change as I go along. We’ll see.

Fourth revision

Polishing. Grammar checks, tightening sentences, eliminating excess words and finding better ones where needed. This is the final round of revisions, and my goal is to make the manuscript shine at this point. It has to read like a real book by the time I get here, a book that I will enjoy reading myself.

And that’s it. I only plan to have five versions of my WIP, including the first draft, before I send out queries. At one point, I also hope to have beta readers look over it. Maybe after the second revision.

So that’s the plan. I sure hope it’s a good one!

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