Revision 05.1 — The Method


Just what you’ve been waiting for — “Now that we have templates and genres and stuff, what do we do with it?”

First off, re-read every good how-to you can get your hands on. Yes, you already wrote the damned thing. If you had remembered everything in the how-to list, in theory you wouldn’t even need to revise. So you want to re-stuff your head, re-activate your Inner Editor, and keep close watch for where you dropped the ball. That includes where your characterization is inconsistent, where you gave the reader too much or too little information (you’ll have to figure out somewhere to stick in that bit of background that foreshadows how the climax works), where dialog is stilted or if everyone talks alike, where you can drive a Diamond Reo through the plot holes, etc.

Writing is re-writing, and that means re-writing, revision, is a case of using all the tricks of writing that apply. There is hardly anything to say about revising that isn’t just a case of “I didn’t do this right the first time.”

That’s why you need to decide on your genre: some have their conventions, some have their preferred character types, and all the rest. If you’ve decided to go for sweet romance, you’ll have to sum up or skip the steamy sex scenes and or punch up a sweet relationship if you’re going for the steamy market. You may have decided your romantic thriller should be an Intrigue, and need to boost the romance, or vice versa. You may be sliding away from fantasy to science fantasy after talking your world-building over with a friend. Your research may have decided you in favor of soft sf rather than histfi.

This is the point at which you have to decide where you are going with this project. You need to sharpen your tools of good writing and get ready to apply them.

First, you make a star to guide you.

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