Manuscript Revisions

Manuscript Revisions
by Elysabeth Eldering

How does one go about revising a first draft that is several years old, has been sitting on the back burner for a while?

When working your manuscript to a final draft or completed manuscript, one must revise, revise, revise and then revise some more. Since this author is currently revising her YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home,she thought this article was necessary. (By the time this post is up, Finally Home should be in the final stages of being published.)

Steps for revision:
1. Reread your manuscript before starting any editing or revising.
2. Utilize a critique group or a critique partner - someone you trust that is giving you sage advice. Remember that not all the comments given will be used nor will they be your way of doing things but if the comments are consistent throughout the story and they do help make the story stronger or better, then, by all means, you should use them. If you feel the comments don't have value as that may not be the way you write (your voice) or it will change the meaning of the story, then you are not obligated to use the comments. Just be consistent when reading through the comments and make sure to use the ones you don't feel strongly against.
3. Edit your story - go through looking for missing words, typos or misspelled words, checking grammar along the way (paragraphs are all in place, punctuation is correct, et cetera).
4. Jump in after receiving your edits/critiques/comments from your editor or person with whom you have established a rapport and trust to give you the sage advice needed to polish the manuscript.
5. After finalizing those comments, go back and reread the story to make sure you have a story that flows and makes sense (you want to make sure you didn't delete something or change something in the middle of the story that would affect something later or earlier in the story).
6. Send your manuscript back to friend for copyediting - checking all your words, punctuation, and flow of story.
7. Re-edit/polish.

You can repeat steps 4 through 7 as many times as you feel is necessary to make your story the best piece you can publish, but be careful. If you do those steps too many times, you will lose the content of the story and it will no longer be "your story." Revisions are a necessity when it comes to writing; everyone, fiction and nonfiction writers alike, has to revise their manuscript. Don't skip this very important step.

Ms. Eldering is the award winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues" (soon to be re-released), "The Proposal" (soon to be released as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (soon to be released as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves" (soon to be released as an ebook) all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and .... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (soon to be released as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review.

Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, write, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still at home, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her state series (JGDS series) and soon to be released YA paranormal mystery, Finally Home.

For more information about the JGDS series, please visit the JGDS blog or the JGDS website. For more information about Elysabeth's other writings, please visit her general writing and family blog or her website.


Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips, Elysabeth. I'm a big supporter of critique groups and think every writer, especially those just starting out, should be a part of at least one.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Heidiwriter said...

Good advice! After having a manuscript sit for a long time, you'll be able to look at it with fresh eyes.

elysabeth said...

So true, Karen and Heidi - looking at your stories with new/fresh eyes is the only way to go; of course, there are some days when looking at the story is more than we can handle - lol. I did at one point almost give up and just do the minimum editing but I didn't and now I've almost published the story - in the proof copy stages now - and I'm looking forward to getting it published. - Thanks for the comments - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
The Proposal (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance (available now as an ebook only)
Bride-and-seek, a paranormal romance (coming soon as an ebook only)
The Tulip Kiss, a paranormal romance (coming soon as an ebook only)
Butterfly Halves, a YA fantasy (coming soon as an ebook only)

Ma America, The Travelin' Maven
Author of the JGDS, 50-state, mystery, trivia series and Train of Clues (the predecessor to the state series)
Where will the adventure take you next?

Authors Need to be Realistic

By Terry Whalin  @terrywhalin Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a best...