Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Revision, revision...

I thought I'd finished with revision when I did my last university exam, but that was before I discovered the delights of being an aspiring author!

At this precise moment, I'm about 35% of the way through my first-pass revision of the draft of my first ever novel, provisional title "Walking Out". I spent months working away at it, posting one chapter a week to my on-line critiquing group. Like almost all other authors, I've got a day job and a life, and writing has to fit in as best it can. So, 26 chapters took me 26 weeks to post...

A few members of my crit group delighted me by offering honest comments on almost every chapter, which I really genuinely appreciate. Several others offered encouragement, which was every bit as valuable and appreciated.

So, I'd got to the end and felt... happy... unhappy with a few scenes... and mentally exhausted!

One of my on-line chums, Spencer Dryden, suggested I leave the piece for at least month before looking at it. He's been published, a rather delightful and imaginative novella called "Bliss" which I heartily recommend (available from and

Until I started revision, I'd been rather dreading this step. Minor anxieties, you know, like would I still like my characters and story?

So, last week, I opened the file again and started with chapter 1.

And I'm finding revision's great fun. 

It's an opportunity to correct the typos which slipped through, tidy up the narrative and dialogue, check chronological consistency, add a few new ideas and address a few of the things I remember members of my crit group commented on. I saved all their comments and will review these in detail as part of my second-pass review.

Then I'll be asking the brave souls who've volunteered to read it as a whole if they still want to!

So it won't be long before my imagination will be demanding I get started on some of my other ideas. I've got fairly-well developed ideas for three more novel-length pieces and some to develop for another. And then there's this idea rattling around the old cranium about compiling an anthology of my better short stories and flash fiction.

The most important thing I learned was to plan ahead. Somehow, I managed to write a fairly self-consistent novel of 125,000 words, combining an erotic romance and a supernatural thriller, without an overall plan.

It's set in the modern-day, in and around the city of Plymouth in south-west England. The idea developed from characters I created and developed in some flash fiction pieces and a couple of short stories. I had a few key "scenes" and characters in mind, then let my imagination run with it. It worked, but I'm not trying it that way again.

So, the plan to take it further. I made a list...
(1) Revise, revise, revise
(2) Ask beta-readers for comments
(3) Revise, revise, revise
(4) Try and interest a publisher
(5) If no interest, sort out a cover illustration and self-publish.

Okay, yes, that makes it sound really quite simple. But I keep on asking myself, would it be fun if it was easy?


  1. Great post, Ian. We're all so proud of you for sticking with this novel. It's a fantastic feeling, yeah?

    1. Only half way there, I know, but it's certainly a great feeling already!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Carla, pleased to know you enjoyed it

  3. I haven't followed your novel in the critique group Ian, partially because the genre I know anything about writing is short stories. But this is a fabulous achievement & I admire your discipline in writing a chapter per week so consistently. It might feel like plodding - but you haven't overwhelmed yourself and stopped, and you now have a complete draft - which is more than I can say for my novella idea! Good luck with the next phase. :)