Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Paper or Plastic: How Do You Revise?

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I'm trying to decide how to best go about revising Ruby Ransome, and I am curious: How do you revise?

There are various methods I've read about.  One is what Stephen King recommends in On Writing, which is to print it all out, read through it all in a day or two, and mark the sections you want to revise.

I tried this method when I was working on revisions before... before I decided I needed a total overhaul.  I found it wasn't as easy to do as Stephen King made it sound, because I got sucked into rewriting everything there.  Maybe he doesn't revise as much as I do, though, because he said to just mark your changes.

I rewrote whole pages.  Hand written.  In the margins and on the backs of the pages.

Given that now I'm planning on basically doing almost an entire rewrite, I'm not sure that's the best approach this time around.  I want to read through it legitimately quickly.  I don't want to get bogged down in what to change.

I could still use the original printout, and try to make sense of all my written revisions - more than one round of revisions on some pages, I think.  Another option would be to create a digital file and load it onto my Kindle to read through it there.  That would definitely keep me from getting distracted by the temptation to rewrite sections right then and there, but I would also lose the advantage of being able to see all my many rewrites.

Or I could do a combination of both, and skim through the novel quickly on my Kindle, and then go back and look through the handwritten rewrites on the physical manuscript.

Regardless, I need to stay focused.  The point of this isn't to rewrite as I read.  It's to get my head back into the game, basically.  I need to refresh my memory on Ruby's store and the 1920s, so that I can plan out the rewritten version of the novel.

I'm not sure how I'll choose to revise in the future, but I think the last option - the hybrid approach - might make the most sense for this time around.

What about you?  How do you prefer to revise?

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