on Fiction University:
Ok, writers. Raise your hand if you love revising.
Revision freaks a lot of people out because it can be overwhelming. When you start drafting, you’ve got this really clear image of what the story should be, and by the time you type “The End,” it’s hardly recognizable. It’s a mess, and you’re not even sure what the problems are, much less where to start.
This is why I’m a fan of breaking the revision process into rounds—one for characters, one for plot, one for theme, pacing, polishing, etc. And in my experience, it’s the plot round that sends people running, because plotting and story structure aren’t simple.
But like most problems in life, I’ve found that a system can help de-terrify the process and make it manageable. And the first part of that process is addressing what I believe are the two most important questions.