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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The First Read Through: Step One of Revising

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I hate writing first drafts. Some of you know that already. I hate them because, it takes forever to get what's in your head down on paper. And then, after you've done all that, it's most likely crap. That's not to say that all of it is crap, but chances are that most of it is.

Yes, I wrote all of that

But with revising, you can prefect your manuscript. It makes you feel accomplished each time you fix a plot hole or add more depth to a character. You can add new scenes, take out old ones, even completely rip your work to shreds. But, you know that whatever you do is for the good of the story. That is why I love revising. Well, at least the idea of revising. I'll probably hate it by the time I'm done.

This is my first time revising a book. Ever. I'm sort of nervous and sort of scared, because I'm not sure what to expect, but it can't be any harder than writing a book. At least, that's the way I see it now.


It took me a long time to decide on how to do my revising process. I looked at numerous blog posts by experienced authors, publishers, editors, literary agents, you name it. They each had their own unique style of revising. From their advice, I pooled together my own revising steps. Today is all about step one.

The Read Through:

It literally kills me to do this. I want to dive right in. Get started completely turning my novel inside out. But instead, I have to patiently read through it and mark what needs to be fixed on a separate sheet of paper.

The main point of doing a general read through is to find plot holes. Like, if a character (unintentionally) disappears for several chapters. That's a plot hole. My main problem is forgetting that the MC (main character) is carrying something with her. Or sometimes her injuries will mysteriously heal themselves. Not good.

Also, I tend just to narrate the story and not give any of the MC's thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Which is why my first draft turned out a little dry and sparse on the emotional side. My beta-readers have (not so subtly) pointed this out.

What I really want to do during the first read through is look at every individual line and consider it thoughtfully. Unfortunately, that's not the way the first read through works. The goal is to look at the whole picture.

I was looking at Veronica Roth's blog and reading a post on her editing process for Divergent book 3. During her read through she posted these wonderful questions to think about while reading. So, I'm going to borrow them today (paraphrased of course), because I think they really do sum up the whole first read through process.

  • Do all the characters have a clear presence throughout the story? If they're missing, are they supposed to be?
  • When you reach the ending, have you built your story effectively?
  • Is the pacing right?
  • Have you unloaded too much information on the reader in some places?
  • Are there any extra elements in the story (for example, characters, scenes, etc.)?
  • Is there anything that needs to be added to the book?
  • Are there any plot holes?
  • And these next few are ones I've come up with, is the voice the same throughout the story?
  • Are the readers missing information (MC's thoughts, twists in plot, etc.)?
  • Are the minor (and some of the major) characters just 'there'? 
  • Does the MC go through a change during the story? 
So, those are all the questions that are running through my head as I read through. I've been too busy to sit down and read the whole thing at once, but, trust me, I'm getting there. And once I do, I'll continue my revision series.


6 comments:

  1. "My beta-readers have (not so subtly) pointed it out." Haha sorry...

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    Replies
    1. It's ok. I appreciate you helping me. Even though my ego takes a hit every time I read your comments. ;P

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  2. It's amazing that you're writing a novel!:) Are you going to post it anywhere, or is it just for fun?
    If you are posting it, I can't wait to read it!!:)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! After I finished revising and editing I was planning to self publish it as on e-book.

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  3. I think it's great that you are writing a novel. Good luck with getting it all together - you are very disciplined =)

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