The writing, revision, and editing process is different for every writer. As a relatively new and young writer, my process continues to evolve, but I am nailing down a pattern to stick with in the future. Here’s the process so far.
The first part is simply writing the first draft. The goal of the first draft is to get everything down without worrying too much about sentence structure and grammar. Instead, I want the essence of the story written.
The revision process starts with what I am calling my first reading. During my first reading, I read for content, story arc, and character development. I also make grammar edits and sentence structure, but mostly because I can’t help myself when I reread. The goal of the first reading is to eliminate plot holes and ensure the story makes sense.
After the first reading, I send the draft to a few beta readers with a few simple questions. Do you like the story? Do you like the characters? What could be improved in the story? While the beta readers have the story, I take a break from the current project for at least a month. The month long break gives me distance from the project and a fresh perspective when I return.
When the beta readers finish and send back comments, I move on to the second reading. Before I read the comments from my fabulous beta readers, I start my second reading. The second reading is similar to the first reading. I am looking for plot holes, areas in the story which need more development, or parts that need to be removed. I write down these notes, chapter by chapter.
When I finish my second reading, I look through the notes from my beta readers. For my novel project, I found some of their revisions matched mine. But, a few didn’t. I evaluated those suggestions to see if they would improve the story or if I wanted the story to go in that direction. I ended up agreeing with a few, but not all. Either way, the beta readers are extremely valuable.
After the second reading and beta readers, it’s time for serious work on the second draft. I go through chapter by chapter editing and revising content, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s a thorough and slow process. I am currently on this stage of the process for my novel (tentatively titled The Photograph). When I finish the second draft, the next steps are still a little fuzzy. I think I will send again to a beta reader, then to a professional editor. I am also going to query this book, so I will do that once the second draft is done.
That’s my revision process for my novel so far. With Z published, I’m focused on revisions of the novel which is super exciting. I can’t wait to get that work finished and out into the world.