A Writer’s Suggestions

A Writer’s Guide to Revisions

“No one is perfect so writing isn’t perfect but it can be perfected.” ~ Janice N. Richards

There are some very important guidelines that should be followed when writing. I have made these very generic so that they don’t address any specific genre. They can be used with all genres. However, a specific genre like science fiction may require some additional areas of proofing not listed her. Depending on if you are doing sci fi or screen writing there are certain genres that require a certain amount of lines, or components to qualify in that genre. If that is your case simply add those areas to the list already provided. You will still follow typical proofing, editing, revising however; you will extend it to meet the needs of your style of writing. Keep in mind this is general.

  • Purpose for writing: Pick a topic, theme, or idea and stay with it. The words should flow naturally. Don’t try to write with words you never use it will become unnatural.
  • Audience writing too:  Determine who will be reading your writing and write to their interests, their, goals, their dreams, their purpose for reading what you wrote but write with your passion.
  • Start writing and don’t stop until you have finished a poem, a section, or a chapter. Write without editing while your ideas are flowing creatively. You can always go back and change things. Make sure stanzas, paragraphs, chapters, and sections connect to one another.
  • Your ending should be as strong as your beginning, connect them together.
  • Proofreading: Do not proof for all the mechanical areas at one proofing. Use spell check before you start. Remember spelling and grammar are two different checks on the computer. Don’t expect spell check to catch grammar errors. Also it is limited to the dictionary that was installed into your computer. If you aren’t sure use online dictionary or a hard bound dictionary. If you have an updated Microsoft program it will give you the rules for change, make sure you read them so you learn them for future writings. NEVER, NEVER, TRY TO DO THEM ALL IN ONE SITTING IT WON’T WORK. YOU WILL MISS A LOT. THAT’S WHY I USE ONE SITTING PER LISTED AREA. THAT WAY I KNOW WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR. SET YOUR PURPOSE.
      • a proofing for spelling,
      • a proofing for verb usage – tense,
      • a proofing for punctuation,
      • a proofing for correct sentence structure,
      • a proofing for word usage – don’t over use words this is where a thesaurus can be your best friend,
      • proof for capitalization – proper nouns, and last but not least
      • proof content area. Did you say what you meant and did you stick with the purpose. Don’t ramble, delete duplications.
  • I use different colored high lighters for the types of errors so If you are proofing seven areas you would use seven colors. I do that for two reasons. First I want to see what types of errors I am making most frequently. Second I want to know if the errors are my errors or the publishers’ errors as it affects how you pay for corrections.
  • Now submit your first draft to whoever is going to reread it and edit it again. You can have a friend, a family member, a teacher, a professional however, what is important is that the person who does it has the skills to benefit you other wise it will be a waste of time.
  • Correct all errors and re-submit to the person necessary.
  • You will got through this process of proofing and editing and rewriting until you have a flawless work.
  • Average times proofing for a professional writer is twenty plus times.
  • Publishers allow themselves 10-15 days for the average two- five hundred page book. If it is over 500 pages they can require a longer period of time.
  • Average charge for editing is between .43-.50 cents per word.  Minimum of words edited are usually 5000.
  • Never edit your book when you are sleepy, hungry, or angry.
  • Frequent breaks are needed. It is recommended that every 15 minutes you get up go for a walk, stretch, get something to eat do anything but it is best that you do something where you won’t be sitting.
  • Remember to save all drafts, revisions, and proofs, it will safe you work in the end.
  • Always have more than one copy stored either on CD’s an external hard drive , a flash drive, in your email inbox, and on your computer. That way if computer’s crash you will be able to access the information without loosing everything. Store photos, music, and anything else you are using separate from the text and have it on backups. They are very time-consuming to redo.
  • Learn to cut and paste it will make your life easier.
  • Learn as much technology as you can.
  • Blog, tweet, and post on Facebook, website
  • Remember no one can publish your work until you give final approval. Don’t be afraid to reject it if the layout looks wrong, the print job isn’t right, or if corrections haven’t been made. I reject my last cover three times before I would accept the color they used.
  • Stay in control of your publishing after all your name is attached to it.
  • Maintain control of royalties, rights, and copyrights,
  • Market and sell your writings
  • Never sign a contract without having someone else go over it especially someone in the business.
  • Last but not least. If you are a writer you have a passion. Enjoy your passion and the journey it takes you on. Remember the more you write the more your writing will change and the more you will grow with it.

9 Responses

  1. Good advice! I’ve been a freelance writer, poetry editor, and poet for many years, too, and have come to the same conclusions about writing, revising, and marketing. I’m especially glad to see your word about letting a poem or other type of writing flow onto the page, unhindered. Revising, proofing, and editing use a different part of the brain than needed to write, so mixing tasks too soon is sort of like putting a moving car into reverse! All genres of manuscripts need to go into neutral gear before poets and writers take off into an editorial mode.

    • Thank you Mary I completely agree that writing comes from the creative part of the brain – the right hemisphere, while sequential ordering of the mechanics come from the serious logic portion of the brain – the left hemisphere. One must shift gears from the purpose to another purpose. Also letting a work sit for a day or two allows a more objective view point when finally revising it. I appreciate you comments and I hope you come back often.

  2. This is such excellent advice as I am currently writing my first book. I have searched high and low for any references or advice I can get. I really like this advice!

    Kristin @ Better Read Than Dead

    • Thank you Kristin I am glad to be of any help. I know the feelings of writing that first book and looking for reliable references or advice. I write from my experiences and if I can help someone with what I have learned than I am happy that I could pass it forward. Good Luck with your writing.

  3. Great tips, will come back to remind myself what can be done! Thank you.

  4. I will be back, have a big mouth too. 🙂

  5. Hi Janice,

    I stopped by to let you know how much I appreciate your help with my 1st chapter. I worked on editing it this afternoon and I noticed right away the ‘tenses’. I was editing and giggling as I made the corrections. I don’t know why I use the past tense all the time, even when I talk. I will try to me more cognizant of it when speaking and writing. Thank you so much.

    Also this article is very helpful too.


    • We all have the problem of watching our tenses especially when we leave it and come back a different day. I think your writing is great and I am thankful if I could be of any help. There are times we all need good constructive criticism to be the best at what we do. I write like I talk to and if I don’t read it out loud I often find errors later. It is an ongoing process. I hope you enjoy the journey.


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