Franco A. Alvarado

How I Am Planning My Revision

reading time: 4 minute(s)

Once I finished my novel and received feedback, I knew I had to work out a plan for how to manage the revisions. I drew up a flowchart because my actual job is as a project manager (in the publishing industry, and yes, that hasn’t helped me get published yet, obviously).

Anyway:

  1. Alpha read. The alpha read is what I documented in my Serial Release series. To summarize, I had a group of readers give me feedback on the entire novel week by week as I wrote it. (These readers were friends who were nice enough to volunteer).
    1. From the alpha read, there is a quick branch off to re-reading Story by Robert McKee and reading Story Stakes by H. R. D’Costa. I recommend both. They are technically screenplay-focused, but the lessons are applicable to novel-writing as well.
  2. New outline. I created a new outline using Airtable, which is a database program. I learned about this method of outlining from a talk I went to at Boskone 2020. The panel was Pacing the Novel with Tabitha Lord (moderator), Melissa Caruso, Steve Miller, Paul Tremblay, and Sarah Smith. (I only list all of them because I don’t remember who made the recommendation! My bad). I will probably do another post about using Airtable. If you want to check it out, use my referral link, if you want. (It’s free).
  3. First 50 Revision. Next I revised the first 50 pages. This underwent two revisions before I sent it to my partner, famous Sims Youtuber Rebecca of BeccaTownSims and our writing club to read over. I am currently awaiting their feedback.
  4. Draft 2. This leads us to the second draft. This is the longest part, and I have also broken down the things I’ll be focusing on (AKA things I am bad at):
    1. Story beats. How does each beat fall throughout the book?
    2. Scene-Sequel. How are the scenes and sequels set up? How do they flow into each other? (Here is one of many articles on scene-sequel).
    3. Stakes. What are the stakes in this book? Am I reminding the reader of the stakes enough?
    4. Themes. How does this scene contribute to the larger themes in the story?
    5. Description. Is this described enough? I am mostly relying on my wife to ask me what the hell something looks like.
  5. Beta read. Once draft 2 is done, I will send it off to my beta readers, which include two of my former colleagues from our old literary magazine, Strangelet, my old roommate Aaron, my wife, and our writing club.
    1. I’ll also be drawing the map because maps are fun!
  6. Draft 3. Based on the feedback from the beta read, I will do another revision, and then at that point, that’s all I can do for now.
  7. Queries, queries, queries. Once I am done with the draft, I will research comparable titles, write the query, and then send those off into the black hole.

I am not naturally a very organized and focused person, which is why I try to make all these systems and checklists to keep myself from getting distracted. I also don’t always stick to them, but it at least provides guidance.

There’s another edge to this though. A lot of times I feel guilty for not following through on my plans, especially when I make plans like this. I also sometimes get impatient. But that guilt and impatience is not useful. So if you do something like this, take it easy on yourself. If a plan isn’t working, discard it or change it. You don’t owe your past self anything.

Anyway, I get my feedback on the first 50 next week. After that I will get back to work.

Looking Back at the Serial Release Project

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Looking Back at the Serial Release Project

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How I Am Planning My Revision

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