Do you need to know more about how to revise your novel?

My daughter took Think Sideways. Wrote her first novel. Is working on revising it now.

And she said, “You know, I sort of get the One-Pass Revision, but I wish you had something a lot more in-depth for people who still aren’t sure which parts of what they’ve written are good, and which parts need to go. I want to have the whole thing broken down into tiny steps.”

Other people have said the same thing.

The One-Pass Revision is the way I revise my novels now. But now, I know how to look at characters, decide which need to stay and which need to go, and which need to be folded into other characters. I know where my writing was good and where it was bad. I can spot failed plotlines. I can identify the holes where description, conflict, and backstory should go.

When I was just getting started, my revision process was equally grueling, but different. I didn’t know the things I know now, so my process didn’t take anything for granted.

I still remember how I revised back then, and I wouldn’t mind teaching that method.

I’m just not sure how many people would actually want to spend three or four months doing a really intensive revision on their novels.

If this is something that would interest you, post here and let me know.

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364 responses to “Do you need to know more about how to revise your novel?”

  1. Fionnuala Avatar

    Having just finished editing a manuscript and nearly gone mad doing it – all help would be gratefully received!

  2. Johane Avatar

    I would definitely be interested!

  3. June Whyte Avatar
    June Whyte

    I’m revising a chick-lit murder/mystery manuscript to send to an editor who requested the full after reading a partial. The further I get into the revision the more I hate it. Writing is clunky. Plot is non-existent. The whole thing stinks. Yet when I wrote this book 3 years ago I thought it was publishable. Perhaps I’m too close. A course on revising would be appreciated.

  4. Heini Avatar


  5. Heather Avatar

    Sounds like a great idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Antonia Avatar

    That would be terrific

  7. Klharrds Avatar

    I’d love to see an indepth revision course on offer, to see whether it would suit my style. Maybe that way I could finally stop myself from constantly revising as i go along!

    1. Gisela Avatar

      Great idea. go for it.

  8. Gerhi Janse van Vuuren Avatar

    Yes, especially if you can include into that methods to use to keep you motivated during revision and how to revise stalled projects – for example a Nanowrimo novel that felt great during November but just seemed like too much work to fix in January.

  9. Sarah Avatar

    I’d love to learn more about the revision process. I’m a horrible pack rat when it comes to extraneous scenes. It’d be nice to have something that could help me figure out what to keep and what to toss.

  10. Beth Avatar

    Would it run like HTTS, with a monthly sub? Or a workbook such as the World Building series? I’d be able to afford the book (probably), but if it was more along the subscription course line, I’d have to wait until I finish HTTS as I’ve budgeted for that. I am really interested though. And I suppose you’d have to have time to work on it and get it all set up, and by that time I’d be nearing the end of HTTS anyway.

  11. Ritesh Avatar

    Finished half of my novel and I think revising it would be quite a task. Any guidance and direction would be more than welcome.

  12. Loki Avatar

    I’d definitely be interested in a course like this.

  13. Teresa Avatar

    I’ve been revising forever with no real direction. I would love some guidelines for making this frustrating process more effective!

  14. Tiffany Avatar

    Very interested. I’ve never gotten to the revison stage before, but am approaching it and would like the beginner’s version! hahaha.

    All the Best,

  15. Lilla Avatar

    Oh god, yes. I started ripping apart my 400-page first draft last year while i was doing Think Sideways, deleted almost a third, and realized that I was in danger of dee-sixing the whole thing. So I stopped and left it alone, but there it sits.

  16. Michelle C Avatar
    Michelle C

    Definitely an area I need help in. Definitely interested in that course!!

  17. Kate R Avatar
    Kate R

    A step-by-step plan for revising would be a life-saver!!! You really are gifted at this stuff, Holly. Never stop doing it!

  18. Stephanie Avatar

    I’d love a course about revising!

  19. Aelle Ables Avatar

    I love to see something from you about step-by-step novel revisions. I’m working on a YA fantasy novel right now and I’m struggling with the same things your daughter did. I also have a couple of novels collecting cobwebs in the closet that I’d love to revise and sell. Let me know if and when you get this ready.
    Aelle Ables

  20. Audrey Duran Avatar
    Audrey Duran

    I’m very interested. Novel finished and I’m revising and editing for the ?th time. Sometimes I feel like Alice down the rabbit hole of sticky notes.

  21. Cathrene Avatar

    Revision is the slowest part of the process for me. A course that offers a plan of attack for an efficient One Pass revision method sounds absolutely awesome!

  22. Dale Avatar

    Sounds great!

  23. Alyssa Avatar

    Congrats to your daughter for completing her first novel!

    And I would totally be interested in that. I’ve been trying to revise my novel for over a year (nearly two, now), and have felt like I’ve been running in a hamster wheel. A detailed revision course would be a lifesaver!

    Thanks for all your great advice!

  24. Ed Avatar

    I’d really appreciate such a course as well; having written a couple NaNo novels now, I’m at the point where I need to learn how to revise as well as create new drafts.

  25. Jeffrey Avatar

    Since I finished my first complete draft of my first novel this past Saturday I’d definitely have to say yes, I am interested, and the timing could not be better.

  26. ON Avatar

    A resounding “Yes”

  27. Hope Avatar

    I’m doing How to Think Sideways and bought the Plot Clinic, and have watched the AMAZING Motivation module. I can’t tell you how helpful these are. I would love to have a course on revision. I’ve got a first draft which will need some serious editing and to have a Holly course on it would be fantastic. I’ve read books on editing and revsion, but somehow they never ‘hit the spot’.

    So, yes please, Holly!

  28. Gina B Avatar

    I’ll admit it: I used “Creating Page Turning Scenes” as a guide just before I jumped into revising. On my 3rd (or 4th??) revision now, and it’s just becoming less painful, but yes, a course on revision would be most welcome! Toughest part of process for me.

  29. tamlyn Avatar

    given how I struggle with the revision at hand, it would be SO helpful to me to see it broken down even more. So I vote YES!!

  30. Cassie Journigan Avatar

    If you visit my website, you will see it is an online news journal. I have been a “real” journalist for a long time, but currently do only my own thing online.

    Breaking into the fiction (actually I have one that has languished for too long in my file cabinet) and creative nonfiction modes would be fantastic. Your course would be most helpful.

    Thank you.

  31. Gary Townsend Avatar
    Gary Townsend

    Yup. Definitely.

  32. Ramble Avatar

    I’d love this! I’m looking at piles o’ first drafts and cowering in the corner because my working on my revision seem more like playing with a pit viper. Really. I’m sure the One Pass Revision will be great when I’m doing my third book and don’t want to languish in revision purgatory any more… =)
    Grins !

    1. Ramble Avatar

      Ha! Even my comments need revision…

    2. Audrey Duran Avatar
      Audrey Duran

      I love your ‘playing with a pit viper’ image. Mine was Alice jumping down the rabbit hole of sticky notes.

  33. eltonBruce Avatar

    yes, one would be very helpful thanks

  34. Bridget Avatar

    A course on revision would be amazing!

  35. peter butterworth Avatar

    until i’m an expert which i doubt will truly happen (w/ the possible exception of vintage hawaiian shirts) i’m a believer in ‘knowledge is power.’ so, yes macduff…lead on.

  36. Jora close Avatar
    Jora close

    I would love to have a course for ‘just revision’…but not sure I’d want to work on it for 4 or more months after first draft unless I messed up so bad I REALLY needed it. I do a lot of ‘revising’ the day after first draft chapters ( or portions of) as I go…spelling, sentence structure, p.o.v. checks, etc. Should I wait until total frst draft is complete before doing even that much revising?

  37. John Avatar

    Man I hate revising, dislike editing, but love creating…….mutter, mutter. I know, a necessary evil and when I was at school it was called grammar, punctuation, adverbial phrase, etc etc plain English basically then it changed up to the more simple description of nuts and bolts of writing. Now, well, if your course can make it simple and can break it down – I’d be into it.

  38. Taylor Avatar

    yes please!

  39. Raven Avatar

    I would absolutely love it if you wrote a course on this topic! I have struggled a lot with revision, and although I always end up coming back to a revised (i.e. more than one pass) version of your One-Pass edit method, one that is already designed for new writers would be fantastic!

  40. Rhonda Avatar

    I would definitely find a class like this helpful.

  41. Aimee Avatar

    Sounds like a great idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. mary early Avatar
    mary early

    i’d love to know another technique for revision. please send it soon.

  43. Amy Avatar

    Yes please!

  44. Callisto Avatar

    We *have* to do this until we get novels straightened out in our heads first.

    So, yeah, a plan would be handy.

  45. LB Avatar

    Yup. Sounds good to me.

  46. babblefish Avatar

    That would be very nice, very nice indeed.

  47. Alex Avatar

    YES! That would definitely be very helpful.

  48. Researcher Avatar

    I am in.

  49. Nicole Avatar

    Sounds good to me!

  50. Valerie K Avatar
    Valerie K

    Revision is my big area of ignorance ๐Ÿ™‚ Would be very interested.

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