Monday, May 30, 2011

How Many Times Do You Revise?

One of the things that I'm learning about revising is that the more times I work through my novel, the more I can enhance the layers and depth in the story.

Sometimes I do this by adding a small detail, such as by a clue to the character's age or family background. Sometimes I rewrite sections of dialogue to bring out more personality in a minor character. As I get near the end, I may even rewrite an entire chapter, making the events in the ending clearer and more dramatic. The scariest part for me is adding entirely new sections, because I always worry that the story will become too long.

It's impossible for me to make everything work in two or three passes through the novel. I think this will be my fourth or fifth time. How many times do you go through your entire novel to revise?

8 comments:

  1. It depends on how dirty the first draft is and how easy the mistakes are to fix. I think I have to do at least three passes before I send it off to beta readers (but usually more like five) and then it's a pass or three to fix all their suggestions. It's a long process - especially since I'm not a plotter.

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  2. I hear you girl. I can't imagine how many times I've revised. But yes, each time it gets stronger. The new scenes always scare me too! I just upped my word coulnt by 4,000 words in that last revision.

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  3. I don't know. I'm on draft three. I'll let you know when I'm done! :-)

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  4. I've seriously lost count. This current novel is a bad one though -- because I've actually "rewrote" more than "revise".

    My last novel I went through 5 drafts.

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  5. I love going back and adding those little bits of foreshadowing, or character deepening, or making the dialogue punchier. That's the fun bit :)

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  6. I've lost count, too, but I believe my story gets stronger with each revision. But I sure hope I've learned something in the process and the second book doesn't require as many!

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  7. Girl Friday, I love it too! But I love it more after most of the major stuff is worked out.

    Kenda, I hope so too. But so far, that doesn't seem to be the case for me (now on my 4th novel and all them seem to require many revisions).

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