Chop And Change

(Wait, isn't that a song by the Black Keys?)

Today, Road Trip Wednesday asks a very relevant question for me right now:

How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share?

I finished a revision of Sway last month and now I'm thick in the middle of a revision on Daze. Both of these have been MAJOR revisions. For Sway, I moved a lot of stuff around, introducing some characters earlier, cutting out other characters. For Daze, which I have an R&R for, a lot of the revisions I've been given are simple. One, however, which isn't a major thing... well actually it is. It's changing one tiny thing which is affecting the book entirely. In fact, this is almost going to be a totally different book by the time I'm done. (Which is both scary and exciting!)

So how do I approach such major changes?

I wish I could say I had this set plan. (Maybe if I did, I wouldn't have to revise so much.) Basically, I do this:

Brainstorm. Make notes of the things that need to be changed and different possible ways of changing them. Talk with my brainstorming buddy who helps me to see holes or problems in my new direction. View every character from their own POV. Make notes on what each character is like and what they want.

Then I write. With both Sway and Daze, I copied the MS file, that way I still have the old one, but I can tear apart the new one. I add in what needs to be added and cut (or in the case of Daze- CHOP CHOP CHOP) what doesn't work anymore. Sometimes I'll move something to the end in case I want to use it later. I try and work on at least a chapter a day. I constantly refer back to the page of revision notes that I was given as well as my own notes, to make sure I'm staying on the right track. When I'm done a revision on the computer, I ALWAYS print it out and revise again ON PAPER. This is so important because there's always something I've missed. Then out to betas it goes and when I get it back, I start all over again!

Gosh, revisions are hard sometimes! But NOT ONCE have I regretted a revision I've made on a manuscript. No matter what, a revision always makes the MS better. Revising makes me as a writer better. And I would never want to send out something that wasn't my absolute best.