When I knew I had this major revision in front of me I put a call out to some writer friends to get their thoughts and ideas about revising a novel. What I was able to glean, from their helpful hints and a lot of web research, is that everyone has their own way of going about it. (DRAT! I was hoping for an easy answer!)
I got some great words of wisdom from the fabulous MG writer Deva Fagan (author of the recently released Fortune’s Folly) a few of which I would like to summarize here. You can check out her blog where I believe she posted the longer version.
One thing she mentioned was that she keeps a file called “big cuts” where she pastes in the big chunks she removes as she’s revising. This is helpful in case you cut something and then want to add it in later, but it’s also kind of a writer’s security blanket. All those words are still there if you need them, and it can help you to cut more freely.
One other thing she mentioned was a little index card she keeps next to her computer which says the following things.
- Protagonist must protag
- character/setting/plot = scene
- What changes? How is the story advanced?
This little card reminds her of the basics as she writes and revises and also reminds her that no matter how great the writing is, it has to be contributing to the book in one of these ways.