Excellent Strategies To Help Revise Your Book

By on April 12, 2017
Excellent Strategies To Help Revise Your Book - Writer's Life.org

So you’ve finished your novel - congratulations! There is nothing quite like the feeling of having actually made it to the end of your book, especially because if you are anything like me there were probably several instances where you thought you might never manage it!

But, as we all know finishing your story is just the beginning! The revision process is where you really need perseverance and determination to stick it out and make it as good as it can be.

The editing stage can feel pretty tough, for as soon as you get stuck back into revising and re-writing that initial elation quickly disappears as you realise just how much there is to do.

Writers need to be pretty resilient to get through it. So, with that in mind, here are some helpful strategies to boost those novel polishing skills and feel confident you are producing the very best work possible.

Pay attention to structure

Your novel must be structured well in order to work. Just because you have finished your story doesn’t mean you can’t go back and restructure it to make it even better. Write down your outline now that the book is complete and look at it objectively. How can you reshape it to make it flow, what can you add, what can you take away? Does your novel build to an exhilarating climax, does each chapter end on a cliffhanger making the reader want to keep on going? These are things you can ask yourself and change without too much effort as you revise your story.

Look out for inconsistencies

Always be on the lookout for any inconsistencies in your book. Write out timelines and make sure they work, check characters ages and relationships, remember what time of year it is, what characters are wearing, where they put things down and pick things up and so on. Readers can be very unforgiving and baulk at even the slightest inconsistency so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for them at all times.

Pay attention to characterisation

Now that you have written your book, it’s a good idea to go back through it and revisit your characterisation - do you really know your characters? Do they always act and react as one would expect? Will the reader engage with them and care for them or be repulsed and angered by them or even afraid of them as you have intended? Making sure your characters evoke a reaction in your reader is so important - they need to care about them in order to care about your story.

Work backwards

Starting at page one and working your way through your whole novel can be a dangerous strategy. Instead, give yourself specific tasks to do such as looking out for sensory detail or checking spelling and grammar. This way you can go through a chapter at a time but do so out of order. This will stop you from starting a sentence by sentence re-reading which can actually prevent you from spotting the things you set out to in the first place.

Don’t stop learning

There is always room to revise and improve one's craft. Keep learning new techniques and practising new ways of writing - you might just get inspired to change something that makes a massive difference to your whole story.

Be OK with uncertainty

The huge task of editing one's entire novel can seem rather overwhelming at times and it's easy to become full of self-doubt along the way. Try to embrace this, or if you can’t do that, at least accept it. How much effort you put into revising your novel will have a massive impact on what happens afterwards, so stay focused and keep trying and it will all be worth it in the end.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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