|Photo credit: dave lewis 88 on Flickr|
And then my critique partners, being the awesomely insightful ladies they are, sent me back their notes. And, um. There were a lot of notes. Like, maybe a little more than I was prepared for.
Just put ALL CP comments into one Word doc. Um. Um. 1309 comments. O.O #YAFantasyWIP
— Ava Jae (@Ava_Jae) February 14, 2015
And that didn’t include the tracked changes. Activate panic mode.
I knew right from the start there was no way I’d be able to tackle all of these revision notes at once, especially since they were all over the place—I had notes on character, plot, pacing, worldbuilding, writing, etc. To try to tackle everything at once would’ve been a recipe for disaster.
And so, I edited in passes.
After importing all of my new comments into Scrivener, I did a preliminary round of edits to remove notes that were really easy to fix. These were comments like you used this word three times on this page and you have a typo here. Each note took under a minute to check off, and after going through everything I had 332 notes left.
Much more manageable. But these notes weren’t easy fixes anymore, and I knew I’d still have to split them up if I wanted to give every element (character, plot, etc.) its due.
So now that I was down to 332 notes, I went through and color coded them. Purple for worldbuilding, blue for plot/pacing, red for character, orange for voice/writing, and yellow for miscellaneous. I then counted them up to see how many notes I had for each and came up with this:
Broke CP notes into categories: Character: 125 (38%) Plot/Pacing: 75 (23%) Voice/Writing: 60 (18%) Worldbuilding: 50 (15%) Misc.: 22 (6%)
— Ava Jae (@Ava_Jae) February 22, 2015
Now that I had an idea of what needed the most work, I prioritized and separated them into different passes.
- First pass: Character (125 notes)
- Second pass: Plot, Pacing, Voice and Writing (131 notes)
- Third pass: Worldbuilding and Misc. (72 notes)
- Fourth pass: Polish
This is where color-coding the comments came in handy, because while I was doing my first pass, I was able to easily ignore notes that weren’t related to character (AKA: any note that wasn’t red). Same for the second pass, and by the third I only had purple and yellow notes left.
Breaking it up like this made revisions much easier to handle (and, just as importantly, not nearly as terrifying to think about). Not only did it allow me to really hone in and focus on improving one element at a time, but as a whole, I think it made the whole process a lot more enjoyable than it might have been otherwise.
What do you think? Have you ever tried revising in passes?
Are revisions overwhelming you? Writer @Ava_Jae shares how she breaks down the revision process. (Click to tweet)