A lot of you won NaNoWriMo in November (congrats!) and since Fuse is closed to queries in December, you can’t send us your brilliant NaNovel yet. So it’s a perfect time to revise that puppy.
The real trick to revisions is getting distance from your own work. Everything is clear and vivid in the writer’s head–but the magic of a novel comes when that translates into what the reader can see. Plot elements that are basic to the writer can often be unclear to the reader. I once wrote a piece where the reader couldn’t tell the main character’s gender even though I thought it was obvious.
1. Critique Partners: It’s essential to have someone else read over your work. No matter how good you are at catching grammar errors, there are things that fresh eyes will catch that you can’t. It’s also important that your critique partner or beta readers be honest with you. For this reason, I usually suggest avoiding family members, coworkers, or students (if you’re the teacher). These people may want to avoid hurting your feelings more than anything. Also, ideally a crit partner would really know and understand the genre you’re writing in. The internet is an amazing tool for finding fellow writers across the globe and building ties to a community of writers that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Take advantage!
2. Reading Aloud: I often suggest reading things aloud to see how the words sound outside of your head. This is particularly important for dialogue, which has to sound like something a person would say. If you find it difficult to get the words out, or are tripping over them, think about why. What is it about that sentence that doesn’t flow naturally?
3. Taking a Break: Some authors simply need time away from a project to be able to look at it objectively. Don’t feel like you have to rush things out. (Especially since we’re closed to queries!) Really take the time and analyze your work like you would a published novel. Is this something you’d buy? Maybe take the holidays off from writing to gain perspective. And treat yourself!
What are your best editing and revision tips? Keep the discussion going in the comments!