Thursday, July 1, 2010

revision Series - Part 3: From Start to Finish, With Pitstops

Today is our third stop on the Revision Tour.

If you've been following along, you know we started with an overview, then I told you all about my first draft review and plot grid technique. Yesterday I talked about the experience of writing and working with betareaders as I went.

Today, I'm going to talk about what to do without all that betareading goodness. Well, part of it anyway. During the rewrites of this particular project, I was usually working about two chapters ahead of where my readers were. Not too far ahead, in other words. So, when I got notes back from them, I would review them right away. Most of the time, I could confidently say, "Okay, I'm on the right track, and I'll do those little tweaks when I go back for a final draft." Once in a while though, I'd get feedback that put on the brakes.

I only came to a screeching halt a couple of times. Notably, the ending, or at least the chapters just before the ending when one of my betas (the one who read the chapter first) said, "Uh uh, no way, this isn't risky enough, this is not dramatic enough. Try again." And she was so right.

On those rare occasions, I'd go back before I could move forward. Those changes had to be made before the rest of the story could proceed. Maybe it's because I'm a Pantser by nature (I don't work from an outline, I just see what happens), but if the Before is screwed up, I don't have an After.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about what I did with the rest of their suggestions, but before I'm gone today, I have one more sermon to preach.

IF YOU'RE NOT USING TRACK CHANGES IN WORD WITH YOUR CRITIQUE PARTNERS, YOU'RE WORKING TOO HARD!!! Yes, I love Scrivener, and I'll climb on my soapbox about that some other day, but when it comes to line edits, there is simply no comparison to Word and Track Changes. It seems too good to be true when you first use it. And when you get your first document back from a reader and the whole margin looks like it's ON FIRE with comments and corrections, you'll feel like a hack. You're not. You just have tunnel vision. We all do.

I'll show you all some screen shots from Track Changes tomorrow, so you can get an idea of how extensive my notes from my betas were and what I had to do for my final draft.

I hope you're all finding this useful!

- Liz


3 comments:

Jill Kemerer said...

I love the comments feature in Word, but I never use the track changes. I'm looking forward to seeing your take on it.

Kristan said...

Oh man, I don't know how people live without Track Changes.

"And when you get your first document back from a reader and the whole margin looks like it's ON FIRE with comments and corrections, you'll feel like a hack. "

LOL! So true. I always feel bad when I'm the one lighting that fire, too... (I.e., being the beta-reader.) I don't want to scare people!

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