The Flippant Girl’s Guide to Revising with Dignity

Fact: revision is part of the writer life. Further fact: Revision is fuck all hard.

You can see where this is going.

The point of revision is to take that amazing previous draft and make it that much more awesome. If you Google “how to revise a novel,” you’ll get over 12,000 search results. You can even learn some revision tips here by reading Susan Dennard’s guest post.

While all of these posts give you incredible information to make your revision process smoother, faster, more productive, none of them share tricks to maintain your composure under the red pen. Scenes and characters you have lovingly slaved over are about to be sliced and reformed. How the hell can you go through this without crying?

1. Curse and yell. A lot.  The angrier you get at your WIP, the less painful your revisions will be. Make sure you practice saying, “WHY!?” and “You fucking asshole” to the point where a diagnosis of Tourette’s might be in order. It doesn’t matter, because swearing like a trucker is cathartic.

2. Invest in a swear jar. Especially crucial if you have children, the swear jar is a must. Once you have that bad boy all filled, you’ll have enough money for a massage or pedicure—which you’ll want after you’ve completely rewrote your novel.

3. Drink a lot. The revision will hurt a lot less if you’re under the numbing power of Jack, Jose, or Jim. Imbibe them when you go through your initial read through where you mark shit up. All other revisions can be done under the influence of your favorite non-hard liquor-based beverage. You’ll need to focus, after all.

4. Assume the position. No, not that one. The one where you have your middle finger poised in front of your screen, ready to flip off anything you hate—whether it’s your own craptastic ramble or a comment you disagree with.

5. Cry. With the amount of booze you’ll have in your system, this will be unavoidable. Just like drunk dialing your ex.