The first draft of my April 2014 NaNo novel has sat in a box for two and a half months. “Parasite” took me the better part of 2014 to finish, and I intend to make substantial progress with revisions this year. For me, that means completing a second and third draft by December 31st. At 8 AM on Monday, I’ll be digging out the manuscript and sitting down at my desk to tackle the story.
But actually sitting down to start the revision process is daunting. I’ve never edited a novel, first draft or otherwise. My stories-that-should-be-novels were abandoned before they reached this point. Only a handful of short stories made it through a revision or two, though none that I can officially declare “done.”
So I’m resolving to figure out the best way to revise. I’ve tried “revising” stories by completely rewriting them from page one, but that doesn’t work for me. It bogs me down rather than allowing me to improve on the original story. I’ve yet to finish a revision by working that way.
One tactic worked when I edited papers during college. I wrote directly on the first draft, correcting and rewriting any section that needed work. Or I scribbled notes to myself for when I added the changes to the file on my computer.
Revising that way appeals to me. I get to work directly with the first draft, and I can see my progress. Flipping through pages and writing on them gives me a whole lot better perspective on the story than simply working with a document on the computer.
I’m excited to get started. Even after spending some time after “Parasite,” I’m still excited about the characters and their stories. Here’s to hoping that I’m still excited Monday after my first day of revision.
How do you revise your stories? Do you edit on your computer, on paper, or a combination of both?