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But Jenny came with a Giveaway, so now over to Jenny on how she handled her revisions ...
With a good editor, revisions are the best part of writing. I know that’s a big call. The enthusiasm and energy of the first draft is hard to be beat, but I love getting glimpses of my story through an editor’s eyes.
Nas, I can’t thank you enough for being a wonderful editor; not only tactfully pointing out flaws and offering suggestions, but taking the time to explain the rules of grammar and lighten the gruesome bits with encouraging words.
(Thank you for you kind remarks Jenny. You were also a pleasure to work with. Yes, now I can say that I was the editor of Jenny's Drawing Closer.)
So how do I tackle revisions?
First I take note of any time commitments, i.e. when are the edits due? Then I read the editor’s overall feedback. That gives me a sense of what to expect by way of work that needs doing. Only then do I open the MS.
The “comments” feature in Microsoft Word is a lifesaver. It’s the first thing I look at. I have a quick scroll through the editor’s comments and that lets me assess how substantive the edits are. Then I can estimate time and energy and reshuffle my schedule accordingly. I email my editor with an expected return-time for the edits.
When I sit down to tackle the edits I use the “track changes” feature to move through the MS, accepting or rejecting changes, and occasionally adding a comment to explain my thinking. Sometimes the comment will be something frivolous or simply a thank you with a smiley face for a really good suggestion. No one said revisions couldn’t be fun!
That’s the first run-through and it deals with the relatively easy changes. Along the way I scribble notes on more substantive edits which I need to stop and think about. I put these next to a page number so I can go back and address them carefully. These are the changes that need to be made in the context of a broader reading of the MS. I make sure they’re coherent with the overall development of the story and that they don’t contradict or challenge the pacing of surrounding text.
This is the point where reading the MS from beginning to end makes sense. Sometimes your voice can change. If you wrote the story a while back and have written something quite different since, you need to get back into the vibe of the story.
After a final run-through, I send the MS back to the editor. There can be a quick bounce back if I haven’t quite nailed some of the changes. Then we tackle line edits (especially pesky words that appear too often within a couple of paragraphs of each other) and copy edits and breathe a huge sigh of happiness. The revisions are done!