I completed the third revision of my novel. I worked on it from late may to early July. I printed out each chapter, and edited with emphasis on making tighter prose. For each chapter I did two careful revisions from print outs and a pen.
Regularly I revised one chapter a night, and at most three chapters in a day. With all 64 chapters revised I condensed my novel from 88,000 words to 59,000 words. I did this without cutting any scenes.
My organization of the draft revisions on the computer worked perfectly. I copied and pasted each chapter into a new file. All the files started with the same abbreviation and only varied by the number at the end. I put all chapter files in one folder in order. When I copied and pasted the files into a new complete draft the last file used was highlighted, making it easy to keep track of the order.
I’m convinced five years ago I could not revise this effectively. Also with blogging, and video editing my computer skills are enough to organize a manuscript. I’m proud I kept my writing ambition, and that I’ve kept learning things. I’m glad I signed up for the Writer’s Digest Conference in early August. Having a wish to complete my manuscript by then pushed me into over drive. This weekend I’ll do my last edit of reading the whole work out loud in one day.
Originally when I read that advice I thought it meant mostly for typos. Researching online further I learned it can be a major edit. One can find repetitiveness, inconsistencies, and whole sections that need reworking. Multiple articles suggest reading every word out loud clearly, and mark the corrections. I got post-it notes and pens ready. I’ll correct or mark mistakes quickly, and read on. I learned there is a benefit to reading it all in the short timeframe of a day. I’m hoping I can make these corrections within a week, and have my manuscript ready. But I need to see how many problems I catch in the process.
I planned to wait a week before reading the draft out loud. So I worked on my query letter the past few days. I emailed the first query draft to my friends, and family who agreed to read my novel draft when I’m ready to share. Several people gave me solid pointers and I made a better second draft. I sent that draft to a few former instructors and got great feedback from one so far.
My plan is to memorize a pitch similar to my query letter. After the writer’s conference I’ll start tailoring each query letter to specific agents for submission. Lastly throughout this process I’ve learned a lot by researching online, and evaluating what I read. Some of the best suggestions I’ve gotten are from writer’s digest. I hope their conference is terrific.