One of the interesting aspects of writing romance is that so much attention is paid to completing the actual manuscript that many writers forget to learn how to revise effectively and efficiently.
Revision is in fact at least 50% of your job as a romance writer and that’s before your publisher’s editors get a hold of your manuscript. Then you’ll be revising again.
Writers spend countless hours reading romance and learning about their particular genre.
They spend time, money and energy fine tuning their craft and learning about plot, pace, setting, dialogue, point of view, voice and all of the elements that comprise a good novel.
Writers spend time learning how to submit to agents and editors.
They learn which publishers and agents are looking for new writers and accepting submissions in their chosen genre.
We even spend time learning about contracts, marketing and royalties.
Yet we forget to learn about how to revise our manuscripts! Without a perfect, or darn near perfect, manuscript none of the rest matters.
The Revision Process
The revision process is about more than running a spell and grammar check on your computer. In fact, that may be the last thing you do and it won’t be enough to catch all the errors.
Based on a number of books and workshops on the subject of revision here is a quick summary of the revision process:
- Write summary paragraph, elevator pitch, and synopsis.
- Read through manuscript beginning to end. Take notes on each chapter. Don’t stop to make corrections. Look for anything that catches your eye or stands out.
- Analyze plot in detail. Maybe make storyboard or outline. Look for gaps. Investigate beginning, inciting incident, climax, false climax, and HEA. Look for Inciting Incident, four turning points, black moment, and resolution.
- Analyze characterization. Does each scene support the character’s main problem, conflict, theme, strengths & weaknesses? Does each character have a consistent and unique voice?
- Analyze each scene as they relate to the overall conflict.
- Analyze each scene for action-reaction (emotional and physical)
- Hooks. Do they work? Are there enough?
- Scenes – fully developed? Five senses?
- Point of view, pacing and tense. Double check that tense is consistent as is POV. Make sure pacing is consistent with each scene.
- Copyediting. This is where you check your spelling and grammar. And just a little bit more
-Check for repetitive words
-Continuity (eyes stay the same color, names stay the same etc.)
How Do You Develop Your Own Revision Plan?
Each author is going to have their own process for revision. Some can make all of the corrections necessary in one pass, others need to go through their manuscript 50 times before they feel it is ready.
Your revision process will depend solely on you and your personal style. Much of this style will be developed with practice. Each novel you write and each revision you complete will help you hone your style.
That being said, most authors and experts strongly recommend taking a revision process workshop or reading a few books on the process. It’ll help you hone your skills much faster so you can get to the business of making money writing romance!