Revision Tips! The Sexy Read-Through

Checklists are sexy.

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This week, I’m posting a bit about revision! Yay! I also talked about it with my student-writers in The Writing Course of Awesome.

Theater people know all about read-throughs. It’s when the whole cast sits down and reads the script. They get a cool feel of it and the characters and the plot.

Well, a read-through is actually also an important second step in revising your novel.

What’s the first step? It’s putting it aside for a while and ghosting it like a bad friend at a party.

Spoiler: I am that bad friend.

So, the read-through is a really big second step (or first step).

You want to read your story carefully and look for problems. I know! I know! It’s a beloved baby as adorable as Yoda or a puppy, but let me tell you, it will probably still have problems.

Here are the sub-steps of that second big step.

  • Read
  • As you read create a new document and put down all the problems that you notice. You don’t want to be doing things about sentence structure and semicolon nitpicking here. You want to look at the big picture.
  • Write down those problems with your plot or with your character.
  • Write down those problems with your image system (or lack of one).
  • Write down where your attention drifts.
  • Check to see if your beginning makes sense. Write it down. Does it make you want to read on.
  • Check to see if your ending makes sense. Write it down. Does it feel satisfying? Are all the questions answered?
  • Check to see if your characters make sense. Do they do what they do for a reason? Write it down.
  • Think of your logline.
  • Look for giant info dumps.
  • Look for cliches .
  • Check that pace again.
  • Cut the crap. Yep! I said my stepdad’s favorite phrase. But really. You don’t need all those scenes you wrote, I bet. If they don’t serve a purpose? You need to cut them.
  • Now figure out the global problems and the smaller problems.
  • Now figure out the solutions!

What Next?

Now you have a document that will give you a roadmap to figuring out how to fix everything.

What Do You Do With That Document?

You use it to make a checklist. Checklists are sexy.

And you know what’s even sexier? An author checking things off their checklist.

Then do it and feel totally boss and sexy throughout the whole thing. Because this, my friends, is what writers do. We revise like the awesome beasts we are, trying to make the best possible stories. How amazing is that?

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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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