I asked for revision advice from Garry Craig Powell. Here’s what he had to say:
I go back and re-read for sense, to see if I have written parts that are superfluous (often the case, sadly) or if I have not written parts that need to be there (also a fairly frequent occurrence).
I look at other macro issues too, such as: is there too much exposition? Is there enough conflict? Are these characters believable? Is there enough sensory detail? Is there any suspense? In other words, all the time I am asking myself why anyone would want to read this.
I look for repetitions too, factual inaccuracies and other kinds of mistakes.
The other thing I do, which I know Martin Amis does too, is re-read each sentence for sound. Every sentence has to sound good. Every sentence. If it doesn’t, it either has to be rewritten or thrown out. This is partly a question of rhythm, but also a question of the sounds of words, the originality of the words, the syntax.
I don’t want to write any boring sentences. I think that’s basically it. It’s somewhat haphazard, and I don’t necessarily do one step before the other in any regular order. A lot of it is pure feel and instinct.
Thanks for tuning in!