Before I actually open up the document to begin working, this is what I do–not necessarily in this order, hence the bullets 🙂 .
- Make notes (mental and written). These are based on what has come from all that simmering after my initial compilation of the feedback. New scenes, revised scenes, scenes that must go, and so on. Some of these are more fleshed out than others, but I get them down or repeat them in my head so I remember them.
- Re-affirm my main character’s story problem/goal(s) and character growth arc. I want to make sure that any changes I make support where she is, what she wants, and how she changes and grows by the end.
- Evaluate my simmer-induced notes in light of this reaffirmation. I may have come up with some really cool ideas and scenes during my simmer time, but not all of them may support my vision of the character and story. If I’m not sure, I leave them in until I am sure.
- Re-read all notes that made the cut. I now focus on any notes that appear to support the second item above. I re-read them so they are uppermost in my mind as I begin to revise.
- Dive in on “high level” changes. By “high level,” I mean the larger, more over-arching aspects of my novel such as character development, adding or dropping a character, adding or dropping a storyline or plot element, etc. I save more minor adjustments for future passes. (I also re-visit feedback that didn’t make it into this pass to see what resonates)
Do you have a formal process like I do or are you more dive in and go for it? Interesting that I’ve often been a pantser for first drafts, but when it comes to revision, I’m quite methodical 🙂 .