Posted by: Kerry Gans | February 28, 2017

Revision: When are you done?

20170223_084210_1487857403123_resizedSo I am reaching the tail end of a major revision. To that end, I printed out my nearly 100,000 words and am now staring at this huge stack of paper. The sheer weight of the manuscript is daunting.

Still, what I am about to do is necessary. I recently finished going through each chapter and identifying the chapter conflict, as well as tracing character arc through the story. In doing so, I found places where the conflict or tension needs to be clarified or ramped up, although thankfully the character arcs came out clean.

So now I have printed the manuscript (note to self: buy more ink). Since I have tortured myself by writing three different POV characters in this novel (what was I thinking?), I am going to separate the manuscript into the three POVs and work them individually. I will clean up the conflict/tension issues, then go back and do a voice sweep to make certain each voice is both unique and consistent.

I will also do one final “sensory” check, because I tend to not put in enough sensory information to immerse the readers.

And then I will be done.

At least, I will be as done as I can make it. My next step (which always comes around what I consider revision 5) will be to send it to a professional editor to make sure that what I think I did, I actually did. The manuscript has been through my critique  partners already, so I need new, professional, eyes.

When I get it back from the editor, I will do another edit based on those suggestions.

And then I will be done.

At least, I will be done enough that I will feel confident to start querying. Once I get an agent or publisher, I will likely be facing more revisions prior to being published.

And then I will be done.

At least, I will be done with major changes, because it is unlikely that I will revisit that book in any meaningful way once it’s out in the world.

How many revisions do you do before sending a story out into the world? How do you know when you are “done”?





  1. […] printed out my 100,000 word sci-fi manuscript last week, fully intending to start the final big revision this week. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you […]


  2. […] 9.  Revision: When Are You Done? […]


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