The first book I ever wrote I didnt revise AT ALL
I was terrified to (imposter syndrome?) & also had this idea in my head that if the first draft wasnt perfect, it never would be
(HAHAHAHAHA SO WRONG)
One of the best things you can do for your writing is learn to revise. Cause you're going to be doing a lot of it--you revise before you query you revise after you query you revise with your agent you revise with your editor...well you get the point
Revision is VITAL to writing!
(I realized this after writing a 2nd book, doing a (not great) R&R on it and then burying it, writing a THIRD book & getting yet another R&R & deciding it was finally time to really lean how to do it)
Only took me 3 books to figure it out
DONT BE ME
Here are some tips:
▪️Did you just finish your first draft? THEN PAUSE! (Seriously, do.) It’s so hard to see anything clearly when you literally just birthed your baby (gross, but kinda accurate) Take a couple weeks (or more if you can stand it). Dont think about it!
▪️Excel/Google Docs are your friends. Think about what your CPs said about your story. Break those notes apart, and put them in the grid of your choosing- nothing the issues mentioned, where they are, and ideas on how to fix them on the page
▪️To that point: CPs are VERY useful! I never had ANY (unless you count my parents/husband which you shouldnt) b/c I was always too imposter-brain-y to be like "I'm a writer, you're a writer, let's be friends")
AGAIN: DONT BE LIKE ME
▪️Look at your story as a whole, and in parts. It's important to see overarching ideas/character stuff that might be missing but it's equally important to examine your writing on a sentence level for cadence, construction, repeated/overused words (i.e. JUST), etc
▪️Reading your work in a different format (out loud / printed / etc) can make you see/hear it in a different way. Mistakes you dont see on your computer will probably jump out at you / surprise you.
▪️Dont be afraid to murder your words if you need to. (Just have a separate doc to put deleted scenes onto -- they WILL come in handy. A scene that I'd deleted from THE LUCKY ONES ended up back in there during edits and is in the final book!)
▪️It's tempting to revise your first 10 pages over and over (and over) again, but that isn't ACTUALLY revising your book (trust me, I have been guilty of this maaaaaany times in the past). Your book as a WHOLE needs work (it does, sorry, no one has ever written a perfect first draft it is impossible and I will fight anyone who disagrees with me) because middles lag and endings fizzle. Sure, your opening pgs are important (of course they are!) but they aren't the end all be all.