Revision is a Marathon, Not a Sprint — Usually

Today is going to be a grueling day for me, not because I’m doing roofing or tarring roads or digging ditches or anything physically intensive, but because I’m planning on spending the day in front of my computer to get as much editing done as possible. When I last posted and speculated that I had plenty of time to finish my revision process before submitting my manuscript to my editor, I think I was being delusional, but not entirely so.

It’s amazing how one day a person can have so much free time, and then a week or so later, have almost none. It’s getting down to the final few days at this point, and what once looked like a manageable (though still difficult) road has turned into a crazy, dangerous road that only the insane would dare to follow. Hooray for insanity!

It’s actually been somewhat unavoidable, as such things are, but not because of the usual “personal reasons” or “something just came up” or other such reasons. No, it’s because at the last moment I decided to try something brand new as far as editing and revision are to me, and frankly, I think it’s for the better. At the very least, I’ve cleaned up a lot of grammar issues that sticklers would gripe about and I’ve had a chance to approach things from a different angle which is usually greatly educational for me (and this definitely has been).

Still, I have a lot left to do, including the addition of another technique that I may or may not have the time to get to, but one that I’m really looking forward to. Self-editing techniques are a strange breed, so if anyone happened to be home while I sit in front of a computer talking to myself they might be a little worried, but in this case, I’ll be reading my manuscript aloud. The entire thing.

Why? Because when you’re the writer, you have to change how you approach your own work. Because you wrote it, you know what you mean when you read different passages. Just as you know what you mean, your brain is also insanely capable of skipping over superfluous words or adding missing ones. By changing how you’re seeing the story (and in this case, adding an aural component), your brain is given a new experience, one that it can’t as easily make assumptions about.

I have yet to actually try this technique in full, but I do use it on occasion when I’m trying to determine if the wording on the page is good, bad, or just plain awkward.

So, today consists of wrapping up as many loose ends as possible, while tomorrow, since I don’t think I’ll have time for it today, will likely be a read-through complete with on the fly fixing/editing.

If I can at least get through today’s exhaustive list, I think I’ll have a story that is much improved for it.

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