A Way of Revision

With a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and an oatmeal-dried cherry cookie in the other, I read through the first draft of my new short story today. I just finished it on Friday (I think?), and so this is my first step toward revising it. Unfortunately I’ve never been one of those people who reads it once without taking notes to “really experience the story”. I tried it in college, and I tried it today, but I just can’t help myself. I am compelled to take notes.

short story revision

This is a test run, in actuality. On February 1st I’m going to start revising my first full-length novel and this short story seemed like a good testing ground for how I’m going to do it. My plan thus far, in loose order, is:

  • Read first draft in iBooks on the iPad
  • Highlight character names and locations
  • Highlight any story points I think may be helpful
  • Develop character and location descriptions based on previous list
  • Clarify character motivations using previous descriptions
  • Critique the story points and structure with character motivations in mind
  • Write second draft

I had a hard time staying awake while working on the first couple steps today. I’m not sure if that’s a sign of a bad strategy or just lack of sleep. I’m hoping for the latter (he says as he writes at 1:51 AM). But I do think this will be a good strategy.

iBooks in particular is going to prove helpful, I think. Highlights can be added as I read, along with any notes I want to jot down pertaining to the highlighted words. The list of notations can then be exported in a list and emailed to myself; colors, highlighted text, and chapter location are retained. That will prove useful, I think.

There is a lot of thinking and hoping going on here, probably because this is an unproven workflow. But again, that’s why I’m glad I have this short story to try it on before jumping into the novel.

So tomorrow I’ll start the character and location descriptions (or possibly Monday, since on Sunday I’m going to church, shooting an improv short film, meeting with a client to talk about freelance videos, and hanging out with friends. Boy that day filled up quickly). I’m looking forward to it.


Before writing this, I had a thought about using my blog differently this year. I was looking for a website that talked about fiction writing and its process, along with a thoughtful look at life and stories. While I’m sure there is something like that out there, I couldn’t think of any, so I thought, why not write it myself? As such, this post is a little more stream of consciousness with random asides. We’ll see how it goes.


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