What are things you check-off when it comes to revision?

I’m in the process of revising my novel—a third draft—and I have ideas on what to do, but I don’t know if I’ll actually execute them right until I get beta readers and critique partners. Unfortunately, it isn’t ready for that yet because I still have so much to revise. :sweat_smile:

I used my last draft as a way to add in details I either forgot, extend scenes (which continues the added details), or change a few things story wise. It wasn’t a massive revision, but something that worked on story and characters. For my third draft, I’m kind of broadening that out a bit more, particularly with character arcs and making them feel more alive than they are now—which are just bodies in the background—but I feel like I’m not executing that correctly… just yet. It is a pretty big cast, to say the least.

The other thing I want to focus on during this current edit is to figure out if the story has an actual plot to it. When I first started writing it, there was a storyline, but now I’m not so sure. I mean, it’s there, but the story is more of a journey-quest trope and feel, so it’s not as prominent. The story is the first in a series where the series has an overarching plot, but with this first one, it’s a character-driven story with an inkling of an actual plot. I just don’t know if it’s there. I want to say it is because it’s about revenge and how the character, while still wants revenge, doesn’t have what it takes anymore—that drive he had years ago when his “masterplan” started—as he begins to need closure and to finally grieve this loss. There’s motive, there’s change, there’s so much that goes on. But would you call that an actual story?

Anyway, what are things you do when you start the revision process?


I am going to be honest. When it comes to revising my stories, I had NEVER gotten to that point for various of reasons. The top two are I end up ditching the novel by going onto some other story idea or I give up on it.

I managed to finish The House of Naivin story but I never gotten the chance to edit/revise it because I moved on and/or couldn’t be bothered to do it mostly likely because I don’t know how to tackle it.

So, I don’t have a process and need to get a process of my very own. I know this is not the answer you wanted, but I needed to share this because I am slowly noticing little things about myself that could be the result of a bigger issue that I have.

I am also here to say what others have to say and share.
Sorry to disappoint.


My process is way easy. I just convert the darn thing to an ebook and put it on my Kindle, then read it. Anything I find wrong, I correct it. I don’t correct things in sweeps. I just correct everything I find wrong – grammar, plotholes, etc. Then I set it aside until I feel like reading it again, and do the same. Sometimes I read chapters out of order because they say that helps you see issues, but otherwise I just read it straightforward and fix everything that bugs me. /(=^ェ^=)\


Very understandable.

Truthfully, I never get too far in my revision process. I do a couple once-over drafts, fix simple stuff that I see wrong, and then I’m done. With this one, however, I’m trying to be more professional about it because I want to query it… but in order to query such a novel, it has to be close to finished (you know, without the help of a professional editor who actually knows what they’re doing and looking for to look at it). So I’m hoping to get passed the fourth draft (the most drafts I’ve ever gotten to) and fix as many problems as possible. Plot holes, inconsistencies, character arcs, story arcs, and more. But in order to do that, I actually have to put in as much effort as possible to get it good enough. Since I always jump the horse and put the story out there for people to see (in regards to my Wattpad stories), I want to revise this to “near perfection” before letting people see it (beta readers, critique partners) just so I can try to get the major problems with it first and then see what else I’ve missed along the way. Of course, I’ll always get negative feedback about how a reader thinks so and so needs to be better or whatnot, which I’ll figure that out when I get to it. But I want them to read a clean revision so it feels like it’s an actual book, you know?

Oh, you didn’t disappoint! :wink: Editing is rough, but I think writing the actual story is a lot harder because with editing, there’s words there. You can do anything with a story on a blank page.

But I think all of this—mostly noticing things about yourself—helps you grow as a writer. Because that can lead you fixing those issues or changing something that can benefit you.

Wait… how do you do that? :rofl:

That’s what I do. xD


Depends on who I’m editing for, but one of the big things I watch for is repetition. The more obvious duplicate words, and chapter by chapter explanation that is really the same each time this event happens. There’s a balance between recap and driving the audience nuts.


With this! Calibre can convert all kinds of files into an ebook. I love it. :heart: (˘ᵋ ˘ )

1 Like

Honestly? I edit as much of it as I can before I finish and then revise it :joy:


James Scott Bell has a great revision checklist in his Revision and Editing book. It might be posted online somewhere I’ll look it up. But I really recommend getting that book and reading anyway if you’re revising. The checklist is especially helpful

Edit: I found an excerpt and it’s a good place to start:


Let me know if you find this to be helpful


Thank you for posting this. When I said that I “edit as much of it as I can before revising”, what James Scott Bell says is basically what I do (but he explains the process in more depth).

I had a look and I highly reccomend this piece of advice (mainly becuase I am a perfectionist, but also because it helps me along the way):

1. Revise Your Previous Pages

Look at what you wrote the day before (or during your last writing stint), and do a quick edit. This practice puts you back into the flow of your story and gets you ready to write the new material.

I like to print out a hard copy of pages and mark them up. Of course, you can do all this on the computer screen. I just find that the act of reading physical pages more closely mimics what a reader will be doing, and I catch more things this way.

Mostly I’m editing for style. The way the sentences flow. I want to make sure what I wanted to convey has actually happened on the page. If a major plot or character problem emerges, or I get an idea for something to add, I just make a note of it and get to my day’s writing quota.
Write as fast as you comfortably can on your first draft.

Doing this doesnt hurt either:

2. Try the 20,000-Word Step Back

Whether you’re a NOP (No Outline Person) or an OP (Outline Person), the 20,000-word step back can be a tremendous step.

After 20,000 words you stop, take a day off, then read what you have. By this time your story engine should be running. You’ve done enough of the novel to know pretty much what it’s about. You then take some time to make sure you like the characters and the direction.

If you don’t, make some changes now.

This is a good point to make your lead characters richer by adding background (whether you include this for the readers or not), behaviors, quirks, strengths, flaws, and tags (speech, dress, etc.).

You can also make a decision about the tone and feel of your novel. It may be wanting to take on a different emphasis than what you had planned. A better novel may be asking to be released.

Although, personally I start to do this after around 5-10,000 words (depending on the chapter length) but I suppose that it varies between person. Doing the simple things help a lot, I find. It helps to steer you in the right direction.


Off the top of my head, checking out word usage to make sure it isn’t repetitive. I sometimes rely a bit too much on certain words, phrases, etc. so finding those and seeing if I could use a better word, description, sentence, or if it even needs to be changed at all is a big check-off on my to-do list.


I’m currently rewriting my first WP story. This is where I started:

  • Wrote my ‘cringe’ list, scenes/chapters/character decisions that I for sure wanted to change or ax completely (I have the luxury of it sitting on Wattpad for 2 years though).

  • Wrote a chapter-by-chapter outline, to see the plot points. It was too long and too slow, plus I wanted to remove the prologue and rewrite the first 20 chapters using a beat sheet, which allowed me to drop/move/combine chapters, then reduce length within the combined ones.

  • Edit/rewriting, quick AI editor push (Word Tune & Wattpad’s).

  • Outlined the new chapters, then attached the word counts to each scene in long ones. This let me figure out if I really needed, say 1.2k words to describe something or 200 words could do it.

^ This was because I was reducing down a 100 chapter, >300k word story.

  • Edited again. Printed a paper copy.

  • Ran revised chapters through beta readers.


I think I’m going to try this out when revise my book in the future o.o I really like how this guy does it


I look for that as well when I begin line and copy editing. :wink: Repetition is one of my problems, thanks to my half over-writer side. :rofl:

:exploding_head: :scream: I’M GONNA HAVE TO TRY THAT!!

It is, thank you! :blush: I definitely like the idea of the 20,000 word step-back. c:

Oof, don’t I know it. xD

I did something similar when I finished my first draft! :sweat_smile: It wasn’t necessarily a “cringe” list, but just things I had in mind to change, like I wanted to rewrite my beginning, knew that I had to add a decent paragraph in a scene that included an extra continent for my map, and add an extra scene in the end during the war that happens that I forgot to add in before. But I have extra things to do because this list continues to grow as I continue thinking about other things to add or replace or do.

300,000 words?! :flushed:

I’ve always wanted to print a copy of my book toward the end of the revision process just to look for final problems and stuff. :thinking:


Have you taken some time away from it? That’s what I do after finishing the first draft and messing with a second draft.

And then I come back with fresh eyes and stare at the darn thing :stuck_out_tongue:

Just kidding. I do have kind of a process.

I post it on Wattpad. I do this not just in hopes that someone will read it, but putting it on there makes me realize things about it that I didn’t before. Wait, this doesn’t make sense or that shouldn’t be there. You don’t even have to publish it. Just putting it in that format might make you realize things about the story.

I also might read it through start to finish to remind myself the flow of the story. If I remember the basic flow, I can decide what stays and what expands.

I also might find someone willing to listen and try to explain the story to them. Ask them to ask me questions. Just casually talking about the story behind its back, making sure it all adds up.

I’m open for messaging if you’d like to chat about it with spoilers (as much as you want to share) :blush: Sometimes it helps when you need to explain the story and the characters and what happens. I have a few writer friends I do that with.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.