Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Revision Plan (How to be my Critique Partner)

So, I'm about to begin revising my first novel. I've been doing a lot of research on revising, and have compiled a list of how I plan on doing this. This is my plan, but feel free to follow any steps you wish on revising your own novel. Also, if you are a potential critique reader, I may be sending you to this post. So read carefully. I may even copy and paste it in an email for you, along with a bunch of other stuff. Be warned. Have a nice day. Good luck with revisions.(:
P.S. If you are interested in being my critique partner, please do leave a comment below or send me an email at

My due date: I made a vow to myself a little while back (right before last November, I think) that I would have this novel finished and polished and ready for whatever comes after by January 1st, 2013. So that is my goal for when I want my revisions to be finished. That gives me...six months? Does that sound plausible?

Step 1: Send out complete rough draft to a trusted and smart critique partner(s). Ask he/she/them to read over the entire MS and look at big picture things, i.e. pacing, character development, irrelevant scenes, plot, etc. Beg them not to bother with grammar and sentence structure just yet unless it's super distracting or they're afraid it may be missed later; that part will come soon enough. Ask them to send comments that include their emotional reactions to the scenes. Do they like them? Do they not like them? What don't they like about them? Also, include their overall reaction to the story and anything else they feel necessary in their critique. Beg them to be nice even when they have to be tough. Beg them to BE TOUGH.

Step 2: While waiting for critique(s) from partner(s), start looking at MS. Make notes of what you think should be changed. Scenes that should be deleted or moved or changed. Characters that are irrelevant. Pacing issues. Plot development. Character development. Voice. etc.

Step 3: Receive critique(s) from partner(s). Look at their notes. Look at my notes. Compare. Contrast. Merge.

Step 4: Fix stuff.

Step 5: Send fixed MS to critique partner(s). Say sorry for taking up so much of their time. Ask them if they approve.

Step 6: If they don't approve, fix stuff (maybe). If they do approve, start looking at sentence structure and grammar and word choice and metaphors and cliches and edges and go crazy while hopefully fixing them.

Step 7: Once everything you can do is done, send it to back to your poor, poor critique partner(s). Ask them to look at the smaller things too because hopefully they are better at grammar than you.

Step 8: Receive line-edited MS. Read it over. Make more corrections if necessary.

Step 9: Go to and pay a small fee to have novel (privately) printed and bound in paperback style. Read it. Get another one. Start distributing to beta readers (i.e. mother, friends, cats...)

Step 10: Take in suggestions from beta readers and maybe fix more stuff.

Step 11: Read it over again.

Step 12: Maybe fix one more thing.

Step 13: Write a blurb because maybe you haven't done that yet.

Step 14: Get out of house. Do something crazy. Have fun. Eat chocolate. Bake brownies. Watch
movies. Read books. Write other novel.

Step 15: Decide what to do next.

Here are some more articulate revision plans and how to's.


  1. Sounds like a good plan :) But you must have more self control that I do. My first call will be going through and fixing up grammar and spelling. I'm known for being a grammar nazi :) and no one will see my first draft because of it... Might use your plan later to make sure I don't miss anything. You've thought of a lot. Great job! :D

    1. It's good to be a grammar nazi, haha. I'm too afraid to bother with grammar right away; there's so much that I get confused over, or that I'll end up missing anyway. I'm just going to cover my eyes and hit send when the time comes and try my best not to curl into a ball after. Thanks! (:

  2. As someone who has been writing/beta-reading/CP-ing for a very long time...

    I REALLY suggest you do one complete editing pass on your first draft before handing it off to anyone.

    As a CP/beta-reader, it's often very hard to stay focused on the story if you're constantly being tripped up by basic grammar problems/etc or obvious holes in the plot.

    I feel it's a basic common courtesy to your potential CP's.

    1. Well, when I wrote each chapter I read it over before I went on to the next one. My mistakes won't be that extreme. I just don't want to get tied down immediately focusing on little flaws. I want a CP who will look at the big picture with me before zooming in. That way they can identify the plot holes and the stuff that doesn't belong before I waste my time doing a grammar check. Why put so much time into editing something that won't stay anyway? I'll worry about making it pretty for my beta readers, but not for my CP's. They get to see the raw meat turn into a hamburger. Thanks for your advice though.(:

    2. I completely agree with you. Little flaws can be easily fixed later when everything else has been arranged properly. Looks like you've got a great plan laid out.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!