#wipMadness Day 12: Revising and Renovating

How is your second week of March Madness progressing, fellow Wipsters? I know some of us are working on new manuscripts this month, while others are revising, reworking or rewriting completed drafts. I’m one who likes the revision process, although I know not everyone does. I like finding ways to make the storytelling more effective even if it involves a lot more effort than writing the first draft.

Some improvements require a rearrangement of scenes, others may be better with some scenes totally eliminated. It’s always difficult making that kind of decision. We work hard for those words and cutting them out can be painful. At this point the unbiased opinion of a professional editor is invaluable.

I liken the process to the impending upheaval in my household — a kitchen renovation. Our house is now twenty-four years old and, while it’s been well maintained, it hasn’t had any updating. A total makeover is out of the question, so my hubby and I had to decide what changes would be the most beneficial to its enjoyment and value. The kitchen is an obvious place to start.

The view “before”. (Stay tuned for “after”.)


The oak cupboards are classic, all three major appliances are quite new and the floor was replaced not that many years ago. They will stay.

QuartzSamplesOn the other hand, the sink and range hood are rusting and need replacing, the island will be rebuilt to one level, counters and backsplash will be replaced, as will cupboard door knobs and hinges. The light fixture will get an update, too. Once all the contractors depart, the walls that I mentioned last month will finally get their coat of fresh white paint (although, admittedly, I still haven’t found just the right shade of white yet!).

Like revising a story, an honest evaluation usually tells us when something needs fixing, but the help of someone more knowledgeable can be invaluable in identifying how the changes should best be implemented. Tackling them piecemeal can result in chaos. In our case, we went to a kitchen consultant, shared our ideas, and received some great advice. Now it’s time to make a start.

My kitchen is going to get very messy before the new improved version emerges. (That’s true with a revision, too.) But a good working plan is in place and I’m confident I’ll like the end result.

What’s your usual process for manuscript revisions? Do you follow a plan or go through and fix things as you encounter them?


Are you happy with the progress you’re making towards your March goals? What, you haven’t set any goals yet??? It’s not too late. Head on over to co-ordinator Denise Jaden’s introductory post (here) and add yours in the comment section. While you’re there, check out all the great prizes being offered this month, too. Then tomorrow, be sure to stop by Tonette’s blog for a Friday dose of inspiration and encouragement.

Happy writing (or revising), Wipsters!

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

20 thoughts on “#wipMadness Day 12: Revising and Renovating

  1. I’m kind of terrified of renovating. Our house desperately needs it, but I wouldn’t know where to start (nor do we have the money right now to do it). I think I would want an expert to come in and help me make a plan.

    With revising manuscripts, I’m much more willing to fly by the seat of my pants. Often I’ll leave a draft of a manuscript for quite a long time without looking at it (up to several months). Then when I go back to read through I make copious notes on what I’d like to change. as I go through to actually make the changes, I do the easy ones in a sequential order as I’m going through the manuscript, and highlight the bigger ones that will take more time to work on later. That gives me a couple of chances to wrap my head around those bigger changes before actually making them.

    1. We couldn’t really afford it, Denise, but in looking ahead we knew that we needed to do something to maintain the value of the house. It made sense to renovate while we would still get enjoyment from the expenditure rather than wait until we were ready to move out.

      I like your system for ms revisions — they actually sound a lot like my approach to planning our kitchen renovations!

  2. We renovated our Kitchen a couple of years ago, but that seems so much simpler than what I’m doing now. I’ve actually decided to break from my get-chapter-one-done goal and look at structure first. It has been really bugging me in general, but I have to think about it even more concretely now that I am working with a different medium.

    I’m excited though. I found an amazing tool that not only confirmed my initial ideas about how I should organize this thing, but gives me concrete reasons, descriptions, and examples. It’s packed in a nutty way, but HULK knows his stuff.

    I’m off to visualize and lay out some new design elements. Long live the madness!

    1. Identifying what changes we wanted to make was the hardest part — for both the kitchen and most manuscripts. I love the sound of your tool, and your excitement, but I don’t know what HULK is. How about an explanation? 🙂

  3. Renovating is such a great analogy for revising! (Some day we will do flooring…that’s first on the list.)

    For revisions, I do a read-through and make lots of notes. Then I try to group together things that are interrelated (so I can use a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone approach to revising, lol). And I try hard to work from Big Things to Little Things, the way you’d save painting for last, so when you rip out that cabinet it doesn’t matter you’ll need to re-paint… So, plot and character issues before making the sentences pretty!

    Making decent progress toward my goals. I’m on track so far! 🙂 Thanks for your post.

    1. Glad to hear you’re on track. That’s impressive! Your revisions sound so well organized…I could use you on our reno team. 🙂

  4. We ended up purchasing new stove, dishwasher, microwave, and washer/dryer. I’d love to remodel but $$$$ aren’t there. One day I’d love to tear up the god ugly tile and put in a wooden floor.

    For my revisions, I found that printing up a hard copy and going over it has really helped me actually finish. Right now I’m doing this with my third novel. It’s easier for me to see the notes and also repetitions(which my one editor told me I do alot of) and other issues I can’t see if I only use my laptop.

    This morning tackling chapter 5 of this revision which is halfway through what my goal was for this month.

    1. Our main expense right now will be the countertops. Because we don’t have to replace cupboards or appliances we’re opting to splurge a bit for stone. The kitchen floor was replaced a number of years ago with good quality vinyl, and I really don’t want hardwood in there anyway, so, at least for now, that’s not getting changed.

      Reading from hard copies always seems to be effective for proofing and revising. Glad it’s working so well for you. And if you’re halfway through before mid-month, you’re making great progress! Good for you!

  5. I’m more of a tidier than a renovator. I move things from room to room in different configurations about once a month. I live in a rented apartment so for now no actual renovating can occur, but someday when I’m in my own place I have a feeling I’ll be doing that. I write my stories in segments as well, so I’m constantly moving pieces around like a puzzle. I rarely write a story in order. I love seeing how the scenes will eventually come together! Finally gathering some steam this week! Best of luck with your kitchen renos!

    1. I understand the limitations of renting, but can also relate to the tidying aspect. I’m always repurposing things in different rooms — artwork, chairs, etc. I love rearranging furniture, too, but that doesn’t extend to writing and revising in segments that could be moved around.

      I’m more of a linear writer, and have to see the logical progression from one scene to another as I write.

      It’s good to hear that you’re picking up speed this week. We’re *almost* half-way through the month. 😮

  6. I am looking forward to seeing your new kitchen, Carol! I want to do the same thing…well, maybe more replacements than you are doing. On the writing front, I am on-track so far this month. 🙂

    1. You’re keeping quite the writing schedule this month, but it’s wonderful you’re managing to keep up. As for my kitchen, it won’t exactly be new, just refreshed, but I’m looking forward to having it done, too.

  7. I have an old kitchen that is going to have to stay as it is. Too bad. I think creating the transformation is fun. You won’t enjoy the mess, but it’ll be fixed before you know it. Can’t wait to see the pics.

    1. Yes, I like planning and creating the transformation, too. We’ve been involved in a new home building project in the past — a much longer, messier process — but living in the middle of a renovation has to be more challenging. Fortunately this will be a minor one.

  8. Where has the week gone? Apologies for the late comment. I zonked out yesterday. Exhaustion finally benched me. Weird though that my comment from the Day 11 Check-in didn’t go through. Such a haze I’m in!

    I’ve stopped the counterproductive method of “Editing as You Go.” My revision process has improved drastically due to constructive feedback during my workshops and keeping an open mind even when I’m too close to my characters or scenes.

    In the end, it’s all about telling a good story. That’s the best we can hope for, right? Sure we have dreams of being published, but first we must write and write well. 🙂



    1. Editing as you go can really squelch creativity, but I know it can be hard to not look back when you know you’ve left something behind that’s not working well. Keeping my eye on the goal of getting that first draft done helps me (most of the time).

  9. So exciting about your renovations! I love the process of seeing things like that come together. My revising style is somewhat similar I suppose. I love seeing the mess get tidied into something beautiful. In practice, that means I can get caught up in editing as I go. It’s awfully hard to walk away from the mess and keep going. I am working on that though! And when I have a completed project, or when I’ve helped others with their revisions, I find that printing it out and making notes first is the best way to go.

    1. Ah, Tanya, “ditto” what I just said to Tonette! I know how hard it is to resist the temptation to tinker. But getting to the end of a first draft is SO worth it, isn’t it? 🙂

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