Monday, December 5, 2011

"One-Pass Manuscript Revision", or, something cool I found on the internetz.

Whilst surfing the great Nano divide of "omg why are you posting" and "omg why am I reading this" on the forums I stumbled upon a link that somebody posted called "One-Pass Manuscript Revision". In it the author, Holly Lisle, shares her process of revising her entire first draft in one go. Well, it's quite the promise, so of course I decided to check it out!

Her process is very "physical", meaning it requires notebooks, binders, and completely decimated forests from printing out your manuscript. Since this is completely infeasible for me, especially here abroad where I don't have the room for such things, let alone access to any printers (let's talk about what a pain in the arse that is sometimes), I decided to focus on Part 2 of her process, which lists all of the things to check for in any given scene. Since during my recent edits I often sit here going "uuuuh now what should I check for" I find most of these suggestions pretty invaluable. Some things, like timing and placement, I already keep meticulous track of, but others such as listing what the conflict in each scene is and how it contributes to your themes is a good reminder.  Of course, there are some things towards the end that kinda make me roll my eyes, such as GETTING RID OF EVERY INSTANCE OF "TO BE" EVER and essentially replacing every "was", "were", and "is" with either purple prose or...I don't even know...but overall I think there's a lot of good advice. I would still suggest that inexperienced authors, especially those who are not as familiar with editing yet, try not to do their entire revisions in one sitting, however.

Also, re-reading once again how most mainstream novels are expected to be between 90-125k words long reminds me that I am writing the right genre. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had to tell one of my epic fantasies in only 125k words, man. Also, today I began reading "Kushiel's Scion" by Jacqueline Carey (yay birthday presents!) and it's nearly 1000 pages long - I wouldn't have it any other way~


  1. I'm skeptical of this. I think I'd have to read some of Holly Lisle to see what the finished product looks like first. It's seems like she's going to purple the shit out of her prose this way.

  2. ^Exactly. But I have another rant for another day about the beheading of "to be" and telling, not showing at every left and right in writing these days.


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