Reading It Again


Reading is a basic revision strategy. Here’s what I look for as I re-read.

Revision Strategy for Novels: Re-Read

I’m about 2/3 of the way through the current novel revision and before I get deep into Act 3, I am stopping to re-read the whole mss in one sitting. I think this is important. I’ll be doing a variety of things:

  • noticing the flow or pacing
  • noticing set-ups that I’ve dropped or not followed through on
  • noticing things that need set up
  • looking for settings, events, things to bring back into Act 3 in a new way that will make them resonate, or perhaps even develop into symbols
  • looking for the narrative arcs of the plot and sub-plots, the twists in the plot
  • looking for ideas for a more dramatic transition into Act 3
  • trying to anticipate what the reader expects in Act 3–and then twist the ending

Mostly, I plan to just read and read, as I would any novel that I’m enjoying. If something grabs my attention, I’ll just put a check mark in the margin, or perhaps jot a very short note to help me remember what bothered me. My goal is a fast read, with everything geared toward letting me see the overall structure and flow and anticipate Act 3 for a powerful ending. I know that while doing that, though, I’ll notice other things. Fine. But I don’t want those things to get me off track on minor issues.