Revision Shortcuts

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you decided to read this thinking I had actual shortcuts for revising, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Besides, shortcuts don’t actually exists. Like anything worth doing, you have to do the hard work yourself!

sorry gif

Now, what I do have is a compiled list of my favorite websites with advice/tips/hints for revising, which is what I’m sharing with you today. Like many authors, after so many rejections/failing to nab a mentor/agent/what-have-you, I decided my MS needed an overhaul: A major-new title-rearranging scenes-adding scenes-cutting scenes-tightening dialogue-hunting out crutch words-multiple word sweeps-overhaul. Basically, I wanted anyone who’d read my MS before to read it after the revisions and be like:

Who are you again

And then be like this:

sally love

But the thing about revising is that you have to have an idea of WHAT needs to be fixed, right? And after you know what you need to fix, you need to know HOW to fix it. So for me, (along with taking advice from betas and CPs) I had to find articles that would do one, the other, or both. So, for those of you interested in strengthening your MS but aren’t sure where to start or what to do, below is a list of my favorite sites, along with what issue they address and (hopefully) how to fix them.

Finding and fixing plot holes:

Ten Steps to Fill Plot Holes

Beat Sheets to help with pacing and plot/character arcs: (You can also search Youtube for ‘beat sheet’ and watch a breakdown of how to do this if you’d rather not read it.)

Worksheets for Writers

Creating a new title:

http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-title-your-book/

Why and How to remove “Thought Verbs”:

https://litreactor.com/essays/chuck-palahniuk/nuts-and-bolts-%E2%80%9Cthought%E2%80%9D-verbs

Adverbs: Here are two posts about this subject. The first will explain why writing is (usually) stronger without them. The second will help you identify and remove redundant adverbs if you need some help easing into the idea of writing without them.

Stephen King on Writing, Fear, and the Atrocity of Adverbs

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/how-to-eliminate-adverbs

How to spot overused words in your MS: (Most of you probably know about this site, but I think it helps to actually SEE what words you tend to overuse so you can eliminate them.)

http://www.wordle.net/

And a “Word Watch” list that will help will other overused words:

https://writelarawrite.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/guest-post-watch-word-list/

And in case that wasn’t enough, here’s another article on crutch words, which seem to turn up most often in dialogue: (As a warning: stay true to your voice, but be aware of crutch words and don’t use them without a purpose.)

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/so-um-you-really-need-to-stop-using-crutch-words

Brief explanation of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person POV and tense: (This article won’t make up your mind about which one to use, but it’s a good refresher and might help you make an informed decision.)

Choosing the Right Viewpoint and Tense for Your Fiction [With Examples]

Now I know this can seem overwhelming. It’s a lot of work!!!!! But if you focus on one issue at a time, and pace yourself, it’ll be worth it. So take a deep breath, grab a beverage of your choice, and dive into revising!

deep breathe

And hey, part of the battle is finding the resources. You’re welcome:)

Sound off in the comments: What are you fixing in your MS? Which articles do you love or which have helped the most?

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