Revision Progress

Happy Sunday Everyone!!

Before I get into the meat of today’s post I was to take a moment to say:

Happy Father’s Day!!

Happy Father’s day to all of the dad’s out there. Thank you for doing what you do.

And Dad, if you’re reading this, I love you. Thanks for being the kind of guy that I can always look up to – no matter how tall I got.


So this brings us to the end of the three part series on Progress.

If you recall, two weeks ago, I talked about Drafting Progress. Last week I switched gears to talk about Editing Progress.

This week, we’re going into revision.

I’m going to keep going with the sculpting metaphor here and, hopefully it stays together better than it did last week (I did warn you..).

At the end of the editing process, you’ve got your sculpture down. You’ve got your shapes, and contours, and you’ve gotten rid of all of the grossly unnecessary stuff that isn’t part of the story. You’ve also probably added stuff to your sculpture (which is where the metaphor fell apart last week), to flesh out the bits that needed it.

All of your heavy editing is done. During the revision process, you’re polishing the work, smoothing out the rough patches. This isn’t the time for hammer and chisel, this is the time for intimacy.

This is where you lay your bare hands on the work and – with increasingly fine sandpaper – you’re smoothing out localized rough patches with care. You’re adding the touches that only you can add, using fine rasp and sandpaper to get the curve of a shoulder just right, to get the feel of muscle just beneath the surface.

This kind of Progress is hard to quantify. Doing it solely by word count becomes ever more elusive. You could spend ten minutes on a single line of dialogue that doesn’t sound completely right, then change a single word, which changes the entire line to where it’s just what you wanted to say.

Do that for an hour and you’ve got 6 words which isn’t a realistic representation of that hour’s worth of work.

Pages edited isn’t an accurate counter either. This time around, you’re not starting at Page 1, word 1, and working your way through the entire work. This is all about polishing, adding texture to make the work really shine.

Since they are usually localized pieces of the work, you might be jumping around through the manuscript,* polishing here, adding texture there.

If you’re focus is on word count, I’m going to continue to recommend that you use the same technique you used during the editing process: One hour of time = an average of the usual number of words you can type during an hour of drafting.

During this phase, I’m more concerned with the total number of individual polishes that need to be made. This gives me a finite number, and I tick individual items off as they are completed.

This approach will only probably only make sense to you, since it relies a bit on internal shorthand. If I were to Tweet that I’d knocked out five revisions today, well that makes it sound like I’ve revised five manuscripts, and…well lets just say something that starts with, “Not on my best day…”

As I get more and more into the revision process, I begin to think of Progress in terms of Time spent revising.

It’s more personal – but so is revision.



If you’ve stuck with me this far, I want to thank you for coming along for the ride.

Be sure to check out the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

Also, be sure to stop by Monday for the second round of the “Two Questions With…” Blog tour.

This week I’m hosting the amazing Pat Esden

For the complete schedule of the Tour and who is participating, check out the Events page.

Be Safe Y’All!!


Time – 12:58 pm – ish

Music: Blind Guardian – Wheel of Time


*Unless you’re like me – linear. In that case, you start at the first rough spot, and work your way through them in order.