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. Arlene Avatar

    Sounds useful. I am almost finished with my first novel and now excited to revise, and your course will be helpful.

  2. George Stellingwerf Avatar
    George Stellingwerf

    Hi Holly,

    For the first time I am truly excited about taking one of your courses. Not that I didn’t see the ebnifit in the others, but nothing fit my needs as well as this new course. The book I’ve written fits virtually all of your requirements, even most of those you crossed out. I’m looking forward to the chance of submitting my book to be one of the two selected. You’ll love the ending!


  3. Roisin Avatar

    Yes, I’d really like that. I often find first drafts of things can be…well, have *potential*, but be ropey in places, full of plot holes, characters doing things for reasons that you forgot, and general rough bits wherer people are sitting around having tea instead of planning their escapes from the dreaded Bugblatter beast of Traal.

    I’m hopeful, because I’ve heard from a lot of authors that their first drafts are, too. But whenever I sit down to revise an 80k novel, the task seems so daunting that I just focus on the little things that are easy to fix, rather than larger structural problems. I’d love to learn how to ignore tiny sentence-structure niggles and focus first on fixing the big picture.

    Er, in summary, and in case of tl;dr, yes please :).

  4. Al Carpenter Avatar

    I think for me this would be really helpful. Sometimes it is not always easy to realize if a scene is not moving the story forward or bogging it down.

    As for spending months revising a novel, I think that is what people need to do until they develop the instincts that you have developed through hard work and experience. Writers only get better from writing because they gain experience; it would follow that the only way to get experience at revising is to actually revise.

  5. Melissa Caddell Avatar

    Yes! Please! I wrote my first novel for NaNoWriMo last year and have spent this whole year trying to revise it. I love your one-pass method, but I think I have some significant problems that need more in-depth work. But I don’t want to spend forever on it, either. 🙂

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