A to Z Day 18: Revision

I think the three most important parts of the writing process are:

Click for A to Z blog list.

Click for A to Z blog list.

1. Actually finishing a draft.

2. Revising the draft (which is different than editing).

3. Finding someone else to read it and give you feedback.

I talked about the importance of finishing drafts on Saturday. Today’s post is all about revision. Understanding the writing process in a general way is important, but understanding what works for you is even more important. Once we get down to details, every writer’s process is unique. I suggest finding a writing process that allows you to play to your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

I outlined my own writing process in detail not long after I started this blog (apologies for the awfulness of the graphic). The first thing I do to a draft before I even think about real revision is cut words. That’s because I’m wordy — it’s a real weakness for me, so I have a step in my personal writing process just to compensate for it.

Once I get to the real revision stage, I’m asking myself these sorts of questions:

  1. Is my language appropriate for my audience and purpose?
  2. Have I organized this piece of writing in a logical way?
  3. Is there any part of this that I could remove entirely without changing the quality of the writing or the message I’m communicating?
  4. Is it well-paced?
  5. For Fiction: Are my characters acting like real people? Do they have motivations and weaknesses? Are they just doing what they’re doing to make the plot work?

These are the sorts of issues I deal with in revision. Questions that might require a wholesale rewrite. You have to be willing to do wholesale rewrites if you want to get better. Revision is not about fixing your punctuation and grammar — that’s editing, and it should be the last thing you do.

Editing a piece of writing before you’re sure you have a mostly-finished draft is a waste of productivity. What if you spend half an hour editing a page of text, then decide later to cut the whole thing? Just wasted 30 minutes of your finite life fixing grammar and punctuation that will never matter to anyone, is what you did.

Revision is important. It is what turns mediocre writing into good writing, and good writing into great.

A to Z badge by Jeremy of Being Retro. Pins from Part Time Monster’s Reading and Writing Board.



About Gene'O

Compulsive writer, amateur photographer, and blogaholic. Also an evil genius.

16 thoughts on “A to Z Day 18: Revision

  1. Nicely put re: the difference between revising and editing. I long for the day when I’m at the editing stage; revising seems to be never-ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    This is one of my blogging 201 goals, effective editing and revisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this post! Loved it! I knew I would when I read the title and I was not disappointed. I’m editing right now and this was just what I needed to hear. Thanks so much for such an excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Taylor Grace and commented:
    Another amazing post by Gene’O. I particularly loved how he broke down the editing process. I’m in the middle of it right now and this was so helpful. A big thanks to Gene’O for the great post!


  5. hughiegibson says:

    It’s the one of the most important parts but probably my least favorite. Thank you for the post

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Teresa C. says:

    Thanks for the tips. Revising is PAINFUL. Definitely not as much fun and vomitting the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Finishing the draft is so vital! I tend to get stuck at 3/4 and start revising the first half of my novel. It’s really hard for me to push to an ending, but I’m getting better. I guess writing is a craft for a reason.

    Hope you are enjoying the A to Z challenge! Here’s my A to Z Post on Memorable Characters

    Liked by 1 person

    • I ran into that problem after NaNoWriMo – finished my 50,000 words, was about halfway through my plot, and decided to start revising. Ten years later, I’m really still just worldbuilding and growing it, based on my decision to revise!

      I think Gene’O is right – you have to get the draft done, and THEN hit the revision step!


  8. Great post Gene’O! Revision is so very important and many don’t take enough time to do it right.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. adaftscotslass says:

    Thats why I could never be a writer. I revise too much!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very creative and interesting.i will be back. Hugs, Barbara


  11. Andrea @ Maybe It's Just Me says:

    Very helpful info!!!


  12. […] 4: Revision – Social – Tone – Utopian – Villanelle – […]


  13. […] 4: Revision – Social – Tone – Utopian – Villanelle – […]


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