Revising A Beloved Older Manuscript. Practical Tips, Part 2. Writing Time, Part 85.

Taking 5-15 minutes towards chunking down a revisions process is a smooth move for those of us who want to be prolific and publish often. Here’s one way to approach a second or third draft of a novel after mulling itover (see Writing Time, Part 84. Revising That Beloved Older Manuscript, Practical tips for Time Management, Part 1)

Part 2. Having learned again to love your characters and the big picture of their journey, then

  • Chunk 1. Still without reading the old draft, take 5 minutes and write down all the things that are wrong at the beginning of your protagonist’s story. At least 8 inner and outer problems for a novel, less for short fiction.
  • Chunk 2. 5- 15 minutes Outline your protagonist’s journey via your favourite approach. Date outlines btw. Date everything.
  • Chunks 3-5. Without reading previous outlines, take 5-15 minutes and outline it again. And again the next day. Staple these four outlines together, latest on top.

The great thing about this is, we’ve got a strong grasp of the novel’s most basic shape, and have only used up 5-15 minutes a day, leaving the rest of the day free for readings, signings, and writing alone on a Tuscan veranda beneath the roses. Or, if you’re like me, hanging up laundry and working on grant proposals and geraniums.

Next week, Revisions Strategy, Part 3

Find Part 1 here.


If you enjoy Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might try her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.

From Pulp Literature Press

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