R is for Revisions
Congratulations! You’ve finished the first draft of your novel. So now what? While it’s tempting to show it to your family or friends, don't.
First of all, let it sit for a while, and by a while I mean at least a couple of weeks. Take a vacation, do the spring cleaning, start your next project, but let that first draft sit.
Now take a look at it. Not quite as perfect is it? Now comes the real work of writing, the revision process. First, read through your manuscript from start to finish. Don’t make any detailed changes yet, you’re just trying to get a sense of the overall shape of the story. Does it make sense? Does it flow smoothly? Are there any plot holes?
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. To help with this, I have a check list for you to follow:
~ Does your story start too soon, too late, or in exactly the right place?
~ Do incidents and scenes lead smoothly from one to another or are there jumps that the reader won’t understand?
~ Is there more than one major plot? Are you able to trace them all in a logical manner?
~ Is the pacing right for the genre you’re writing in? Is it consistent? Is your voice consistent?
~ Is there enough description that your reader feels grounded in the world you’ve created? Is there too much description?
~ Is it obvious what your characters want? Are their motivations clear?
~ Are your characters well developed or do they seem flat? Are they people someone will want to keep reading about?
~ Do you show both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters? Do the relationships between your characters grow and develop and become more complicated as the story proceeds?
~ Does your dialogue sound natural, or forced? Does it move the story forward or should it be removed? Do each of your characters have a distinctive voice?
~ Are your dialogue, narrative and description well balanced? Do they flow naturally and seamlessly?
~ Do you overuse certain words or phrases? Have you chosen the right words consistently throughout?
~ Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, adjectives, facial expressions, certain dialogue tags, or interjections?
~ Are both the tense you’re using and the perspective consistent? Is the point of view consistent?
~ Do your scenes make sense and move the story forward? Is there enough tension to keep the pace going?
~ Does each mini-climax/resolution lead to another problem? Is the reader challenged with new puzzles and questions to solve?
~ Are the crucial events of the story given the attention they deserve? Is there enough conflict? Not enough conflict?
~ Does your story have a satisfying climax? Is it too drawn out? Too rushed? Does it come at the right time?