HELP! What do I do with this unruly blob of words?
1) First, CONGRATULATE yourself for attempting to write a novel.
Many attempt, few finish. (BUT YOU WILL).
2) IF you haven't done so already, finish the book before revising.
Write daily or you’ll lose the "vibe" of your characters and their situation, much the same way when you don't keep in contact with friends. It takes awhile to reunite yourselves, but by writing every day, you can delve right back in.
3) Copy and paste the entire work onto another new document. First one should say TITLE/ NANO and then the second TITLE /REVISION 1/DEC 2016. Add add page numbers, double-space the document, and make the whole thing Times New Roman font size 12.
4) Make a folder for this novel. That way any new revisions or anything else you might not be sure if you should save, you’ll have. Here’s what mine looked like for FLIP THE BIRD. (I tag the most current one and rename it with most current month after I’ve worked on it awhile). Why yes, I did work on this book for years...oy! You can (and I should) make a sub-folder that says "Old Versions of TITLE" so it's not so cluttered.
5) Now comes the fun part or hard work, depending on how you feel about revision. Once I have the first draft done, I'm like "BRING IT ON!" Revision is my favorite. I imagine I'm Michaelangelo with a slab of granite looking like Alfred Hitchcock, but with a plan to make it into David.
6) Read through the manuscript start to finish. FIRST REVISION PASS: Open a blank document and note all scenes/ page numbers/ characters / action. (A "scene" takes place in the same location, for example, the airport. When the location changes, so does the scene. You can have more than one scene in a chapter depending on how long they spend in that location. You can also insert a chapter break or start new chapter.)
1) HOME/ pages 1-11 / Mercer, Dad, & Lincoln/Trapping hawk
**This helps you to see how many pages each scene is and how often your characters are interacting etc. General overview**
You can use Plotting Template by Cindy Grigg to enter in information too. Provides a nice visual. https://cindygrigg.com/2014/09/05/free-novel-or-series-outline-template-inspired-by-j-k-rowling/ )
7) SECOND REVISION PASS // Under “Tools” - hit “Track changes” and start making notes for yourself as you read, and they'll show up in another color within the document. And/or if you prefer, you can also write notes for yourself in other colors / highlight / caps like shown below. *I'll go back later to fix, but I'm just making broad notes for myself as I read so I don't lose my train of thought.
8) Third, fourth, and fifth (twentieth...) revision passes: Copy and paste document and label it with whatever month/year it is when you finish a revision or make a major change. Each time you are honing things and putting them in order, but the other versions remain intact in case you accidentally delete something that you want to later take a look at. (See my first graphic above).
9) Create a separate document that says “Thoughts about TITLE” where you can brainstorm ideas and free flow about possibilities. Sometimes you get stuck about what to do so brainstorming multiple outcomes on paper without having to write the whole scene is valuable. By not censoring yourself, you'll get a variety of odd, but often viable, subplots or avenues that will work. Here is one of my “stream of consciousness” plotting snippets.
10) If you worry about deleting a cool line that you'll later regret, create a folder that says “TITLE / FAVORITE FRAGMENTS." That way you can relax knowing you can find it again if you change your mind. PS: I've never gone back into my "Favorite Fragments" folder to take anything back out, but I know when I first started writing, I hated to delete a really cool phrase (but it was overkill or didn't fit the situation), so this helped me get over that. :)
Good Luck! 🍀
Shoot me a question in the comments or email me directly.
Til next time,