Jobe Reflects on Novel Revision

Well I turned in a major novel revision yesterday, folks, and MAN OH MAN was it some hard work. This draft crossed the finish line with only 46k words, 186 pgs, seven chapters of about 25-30pgs ea. I cut roughly 9k words of scenes that didn’t work–and that was just the balance after adding in new material, too. Is it ready to be published? No. Is it a heck of a lot better than it was before this revision? You betcha.

For grins I decided to plug my novel in to the hemingway editor app. It tells me that my readability is at a 4th grade level. That means it’s easy to read, which is fine by me since I intended it for YA readers. It says the read time is 3 hours (I wonder how they calculate something like that?) and that I used too many adverbs for their taste, but I was way under their max for passive voice.

What else can I say? Novel revision is really hard work that is really worth it. Here’s some advice from the world wide web:

Solicit feedback. This initial step isn’t really part of the revision process itself, but you need to do it before you’re ready to revise…seek feedback from others…Let the book rest before you try to revise it, so that you can come to it with fresh eyes.” — Anne Lyle

Read. (Try Darcy Pattison’s method of shrinking your manuscript!)

“Analyze. After the first read-through, begin to make notes. Answer the following questions. Does my story make sense? Is the plot compelling? Does the story flow or does it seem choppy? Do my lead characters “jump off the page”? Are the stakes high enough?” — James Scott Bell

Focus on big-picture items, such as plot structure, point of view, and pacing, first.” — Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas, The Book Designer

Outline the book you wrote. The goal is to see what’s there in terms of story beats, character arcs, plot moments. Outline the book you’re gonna rewrite. Have a plan. — Chuck Wendig


Set a completion date for the revision. You need to keep yourself going with deadlines.” — Holly Lisle

When You’re Done, You’re Not Done. Once you have finished your revision, go back and re-read the opening paragraphs (or the whole first chapter) to be extra sure that the feeling and atmosphere you wanted to produce in the opening is still on target…Open strong, end strong.” — James Duncan, Writer’s Digest

Now? REST.


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