So you finished your project, a novel, a short story, a play, whatever it is. Take a minute and pat yourself on the back. Now remove that hand from your back and put it back on the keyboard. You’re not done yet.
Hashing out a first draft is only phrase in the life cycle of your work, and also vital is polishing up your work so that it will shine as brightly as possible. Competition for publication can be fierce, and you cannot afford to put anything less than your best work out there.
Revision , like writing the first draft, is a highly personal process. Everyone does it a little differently and whatever works best for you is how you should do it. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful.
1. Read for one element: There are so many things to look for, including grammar and spelling, pacing, style, etc, that you might be overwhelmed if you look for it all at once. You might find it better to give the work multiple readings, focusing on a single aspect.
2. If in doubt, read aloud: If you stumble when you read, your reader might as well. If you are not sure, read the passage aloud and see how it flows. This helps in a way that cannot be duplicated by reading silently.
3. Your manuscript is not “for your eyes only.”: After spending so much time with your work, you are too close to it to see it completely objectively. Though you need to go over it yourself, it is best to seek the help of others, at best, those who can give you their genuine opinion. It’s a good idea to give the manuscript not only to those who know something about writing, but also to someone in your target audience.
No matter how you do it, remember that there is a time to revise and a time to refrain from revising. You cannot revise forever, or you’ll never see print. Revise until you feel good about your work and then send it out into the world. It sometimes feels like letting out a child out into the world to fend for themselves, but as long as you have taken the proper time to revise, you have nothing to worry about.
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