How many times do you need to revise your writing?
For me the answer is as many times as it takes. I need to be happy that the work is as good as I can possibly make it. It can seem like a laborious process. But it’s one I get a lot of satisfaction from finally seeing a writing project coming together.
I’m writing a non-fiction piece at the moment and I’m trying to look at it from both the reader and a writer’s point of view. In addition, because I’m going to self publish the work, I have an editor’s hat on as well!
I try to leave a few days between each revision Maybe it should be longer but once I’m into the revision phase I just want to move the writing onto completion. So what are some of my considerations during this process?
- With a non-fiction work at the start I ensure I have a clear objective. A good solid, planned out structure helps. That way, hopefully, I find that I have not deviated from the initial objective.
- Have I covered the information the reader would expect to find in the subject matter of this book? I try to put myself in their shoes.
- Is the writing style I have used appropriate for this book?
- If I’m giving the reader information, and writing from my own experience, are there enough practical examples supporting the facts? If not, add more.
- Even though it’s a non-fiction title I try to ensure the introduction grabs the reader’s attention. They need to know right from the start they are going to get something out of the book. And that also means letting them know your credentials from the opening paragraphs as to why you are an authority on the subject matter.
- The conclusion to the book is important. Does it bring everything together and is it going to leave a strong impact with the reader?
- Does it flow well and is the subject matter organised in a suitable way for readers?
- During each revision I also try to edit. The final revisions I read from an e-reader. This does seem to highlight further necessary revisions I missed. It also shows me exactly how it will look from a reader’s perspective.
- Read aloud if it helps. Hearing the words can help spot the obvious – sentence structure, over-used words, etc
- Share the writing with someone. In my case my wife will proof read it. She’s usually good at spotting errors in books and films that just go straight past me!
Well I better get back to my revision. I have a book to finish!