My process for revising a book

Am currently in the process of revising my middle grade novel. It’s going well, I think. I’ve become a much more meditate and thoughtful reviser. I go into the process at the beginning with a sense of what I want to accomplish, and then I go through in Scrivener and take notes on each scene where I detail the changes I’m going to make. It’s a very top-down view of revision.

It’s hard to describe, exactly. My revisions nowadays seem mostly concerned with making sure the story arc is exactly right. And that’s something that’s very difficult to see when you’re deep within the lines of the manuscript. But if I go through and put the story arc into place at the beginning, then it’s easier for me to give myself an objective with each scene: “In this scene, I need to do this; and in that scene I need to do that.” And then when I’m actually working on the text, I can allow myself to trust that the larger pictures are resolving themselves.

The other thing I’ve noticed about revision is my need to pull back from my plans. I’ll often brainstorm changes that are much bigger than what I need, and when I get into the text I’ll see that all I really need is an extra scene here or an extra beat there.

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