Novel Revision Tip: Fooling Yourself

If you’re finished with your first draft and are wondering what to do with the mess on your hands, I have a quick and easy novel revision tip for you.

novel revision tip, revision process, first draft novel revision, novel revision, how to revise a novel, revision techniques
Feeling stuck? Here’s an easy novel revision tip: printing your WIP in a different font may help you look at it with fresh eyes.

Novel Revision Tip: Remove the First Draft Goggles

Writing the first draft was so free, so easy! Discovery at every turn! That process is what I like to call First Draft Goggles. Like beer goggles, that first draft euphoria can sure make everything look great.

Then comes the crushing hangover: revision. You’ve got to look at the thing you enjoyed so much during the first draft. You feel sick. There’s a bile taste creeping up your throat. “Did I really just write that?”

And here it comes, the big question: “Am I really just fooling myself with this writing thing?”

Novel Revision Tip: Look at Your Work with Fresh Eyes

Well, here’s a nifty trick that I learned from David Morrell, a very seasoned writer. He took me under his wing at a writers conference one time and gave me a very simple, very effective novel revision tip. It truly was a “duh!” moment:

Every time you think you’re done with something, change the font, print it out and read it again.

This is a novel revision tip I like to use when I’m fairly far into my revision process, but I’ve found it helps with anything that’s getting you stuck. When you change the font, you’re more likely to slow down and read it more carefully, since your eyes aren’t as used to how the words look on the page or screen. Glaring errors and things that don’t sound right tend to stand out much more.

Some writers like to read a page bottom to top for much the same effect. That gives me a headache, so I just change the font. I like to go from Times New Roman to Courier New or, if I’m feeling extra frisky, Arial.

Try it and see what you think. This is literally novel revision tip to fool yourself into paying more careful attention and not getting complacent with your draft. Sometimes, fooling yourself is actually a good thing! (Check out even more revision techniques here.)

Feeling stuck on your WIP? Hire me as your novel editor and I’ll offer a fresh perspective on your work.

23 Replies to “Novel Revision Tip: Fooling Yourself”

  1. I’m surprised no one ever commented on this. This nifty trick helped me eliminate some awkward phrases and find some typos. I’m going to go try it on my query letter before I enter your contest 🙂

  2. This is a fantastic tip. I’m trawling through your posts backwards (which seems appropriate, after reading this post!) because I can’t seem to work out any other way to do it. Is there somewhere your posts are listed with the titles? Perhaps I’m just being a tech doughnut, but I can’t see a site map anywhere.

  3. Love it. It’s so hard to read something two hundred times and still try to see it differently. What a fantastic tip.

  4. This tip rocks! I love when you repost things because I’ve only just happened along your blog.

  5. Rhiannon — Thanks. I try to keep reminding readers of the old stuff, too, since I post on evergreen topics that are always going to be relevant.

  6. This is by far my favorite trick too. I’ve been doing this for some time and it helps so much!

  7. That’s was a great little post and a valuable tool we can all use.

  8. I printed my MS in a new font and found a few mistakes I’d overlooked 15 times! This trick really does allow for a fresh look.

  9. I. LOVE. THIS. TIP.

    Gonna try it today.

  10. Rondi Olson says:

    I also like having my computer read my book to me. There are some great free reader programs, you can sure hear mistakes you can’t see.

  11. Great idea. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who goes through second-draft depression. Thank goodness for Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby.

  12. Would using Comic Sans be too ridiculous? Might be worth trying on a serious piece just to see how emotional you’re making your reader. 🙂 Love this tip! I’m going to try it with my next draft!

  13. Well, you got the fool aspect of my writing correct. But how did you know about the cookie dough?

  14. Brianna Frehner says:

    Great article and I love the tip. I’m still in first draft euphoria {as of today} so this article was perfect timing for me. 🙂

  15. It’s those simple tricks that are pure genius! Thanks for such a great tip. I just sent it to my author friend!

  16. Shirley Espada-Richey says:

    That’s so funny. Just today I did this by accident as I prepared to send my MS to my critique group after having revised it for an hour. It was amazing! I found a bunch of typos, got rid of unnecessary words and I was much happier with the end result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © Mary Kole at Kidlit.com