Day two hundred thirty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.
Revising and rewriting is much more difficult than I anticipated. I’m too often squabbling over minor things, reluctant to take out parts that probably should be removed, and unsure of ways to make a chapter better. It has been overwhelming, really, so I have been searching for ways to improve the process. Finally, I think I found a solution.
Instead of revising by chapter, I have narrowed my focus to revise by paragraph. I ask myself several questions with each paragraph, picking my way through in small bites. It is no longer overwhelming. Bringing my lens closer has also allowed me to not get bogged down in trying to create a perfect 2nd draft. I have to remind myself: Make a pass and remember that you will need to make more passes before it is done. Just make a pass, one paragraph at a time.
These are the questions I have come up with to work on each paragraph:
- Is the paragraph necessary to move the story forward? If it isn’t, get rid of it.
- Does the paragraph serve its purpose to convey information to the reader in a clear way? If it doesn’t, revise it.
- Is the information in the paragraph consistent with the plot? If it isn’t, get rid of it or rewrite it to fit the plot.
- Does the paragraph keep the readers attention? If not, rewrite it.
- Does the writing in the paragraph keep a smooth flow and rhythm, connecting well with the previous paragraph? If not, revise it.
Whether this method works for everyone is doubtful, but so far, it works for me. In fact, it may be just what I need to get to a finished manuscript.