Writing Life: Behind-the-Scenes of Initial Revision (Part One)

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Hello Friends and Welcome!

Today I wanted to dive into my writing process a little bit. I have often enjoyed when other authors reveal bits about their writing process so I thought I’d share a bit about mine. Since I am in the midst of the initial round of revisions for Autumn Sunrise, that’s the part of the process I’ll be documenting over the next month or so. Originally, my plan was to walk through my entire initial revision process in one post however I’ve realized that it’ll work more as a series of posts rather than one extremely long post. Today’s installment is all about the initial period that covers completion of the draft, initial read-through, and the decision to proceed with the project.

First things first, my initial revision process is very different from those I’ve seen of other authors. This is what works for me, however I highly encourage you to look up Susan Dennard’s revision series because she does an excellent job breaking down how she goes about revisions.

The Process Beginning

The first thing I do when I complete a draft is save it and convert it into both pdf and word document forms and email both versions to myself. After that’s completed, I will print off a copy of the manuscript and put it in a three-ring binder, avoiding reading the text as much as possible. Without referring to the draft, I will pull out some notebook paper and jot down any ideas that I have – if I want to pay special attention to certain characters or plot lines, if I have an idea for extra scenes that might work, if I have an idea of what I want the revision process to look like, etc. It is essentially a brain dump. There’s no set checklist or process other than getting thoughts out of my head. Those pages will go in the binder.

The important thing is, the draft is set aside for at least two weeks (which is definitely a struggle!). I’ve found that it is really helpful to work on another project during the time the current draft is set aside. With Autumn Sunrise, I took the time the draft was sitting to finish plotting the novel I have been calling Serial News as well as work on character development. I briefly thought about jumping right into drafting the project, however I also knew that I really wanted to keep moving forward with Autumn Sunrise.

After I have let the manuscript sit, I will then finally allow myself to read it. I always attempt to read through it in as few sittings as possible. It’s always my intention to complete the initial read-through in a day. During the initial reading, I have only the manuscript in front of me. I do not take notes or mark anything up at this stage. My intention is to read through it to see if it’s something that I would want to dedicate a good portion of the next year reworking and molding into a novel worthy of publication.

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There have been times where I’ve decided after that initial read-through that the project needs to be shelved, at least for a time. It’s not an easy decision, especially after I’ve invested a significant amount of time in the project between planning, plotting, and drafting. However if it turns out that the project isn’t one that I’m passionate about spending the next year or so focused on, then I make the decision to set it aside.

If I decide that I’m willing to spent the majority of the next year of my life working on the novel then I will dive into the first round of revisions. We’ll get into that process in the next installment of this series!

Preview of Coming Attractions:

  • Color-coded notes
  • Four Big Things I Look For
  • Organizing Notes for Maximum Efficiency
  • Re-plotting and Prepping for Draft 2

-Kellie Katrin

Published by Kellie Katrin

Hello, my name is Kellie and I am an author, editor, underwriter, marathon runner, and a lover of words. I seek to bring joy to the world around me and share my words with the world.

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