Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Book Revision, Take One August 29, 2009

Filed under: Baby Steps, Baby Steps — justwritecat @ 2:50 am

This week the real work started!  I’ve been revising my first manuscript, trimming it down or building it up as needed.  I’m at Chapter Eleven out of Twenty-Two, so not too bad for a week’s work.  My goal is to have the first revision complete in time to send off to an editor by 9/5.  Hmmm….maybe that’s when the real work will start….

Given this will be the first time I work with an editor, I’m a bit anxious.  Not sure what to expect or how much ‘ink’ will end up splashed across the pages.  I’m excited, too.  Handing your work to a professional means progress is being made, your dream’s that much more tangible.  It also means you’ll get a reality check.  All those lines you thought were the cat’s meow will get an unbiased read, and you’ll find out if there is indeed a diamond under all that ‘rough’. 

I thought I’d start a revision journal of sorts, might be helpful to those of you working on your first manuscript.  So here goes –

Before starting the revision I outlined the areas that I knew would need work.  In this case it was the forensic scenes and setting in general.  I bought a couple of books – Police Procedure and Investigation by Lee Lofland and Forensics by D.P Lyle, MD..  Both are proving good investments.  I was able to add a more realistic feel to the crime scene, using proper terminology and such.  My goal is not to do a CSI-like book – the focus is on the characters more than the crime.  But I have to make it feel real.  If you’re writing a book that involves a crime of any type or police personnel, I highly suggest either book. 

Once I read the books and took notes, I worked through the relevant scenes a couple of times.  I’m going straight through the manuscript by chapter, so I haven’t revised all the scenes.  But what I did change looks better.  We’ll see what the editor thinks…that’s the real test.

It’s amazing how quickly you can pick up the things that need change as you read through your entire manuscript.  Word choice, tone – things just jump out at you.  I do agree with the suggestion you get the first draft down as quickly as possible even if you know a good part of it’s crap.  This way you get your story down and  you have something to work with.  As you revise, you make it tighter, better, more true to the intent of your story. 

I’m having fun with the revision – so far.  But yeah, it’s work!


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