Here's hoping this blog (and its comments) can be informative for all involved, including the writer, because the prospect of rewriting and revising a novel can be very intimidating for some. And I won't lie. It definitely is for me. I have never revised a novel of my own. I'm so good at marking up others' work. When I send it back to them, I feel relieved that I don't have to do the next step, because let's face it: revising is the hardest part.
I'm not sure if I even have the mechanics of it right. I'm a pretty intuitive person, but that doesn't always mean efficient. When you receive a highly marked up document back from your first reader(s), what is the first thing you do?
For one, I read through all of the margin comments. I can't help myself. I want to know immediately what parts they liked and what they didn't so I have a sense of the overall scope of work ahead of me.
Then what happens?
I go through all of the red lines. And they can be numerous. This is where people will correct your grammar and punctuation or insert prose suggestions directly into the text. These edits can be even more tedious, depending on how clean the draft was that you sent out.
After that, I start tackling the big stuff. My current novel, Scarlet Letters, needs some minor rearranging at the chapter level, but a good bit at the scene level. Some scenes will need to be rewritten completely. There are also some character development things that I need to add that will likely expand the story. This is akin to replacing a head gasket in a car. You gotta take a whole bunch of crap apart, put it back together, and in the process get your hands really dirty.
Finally, I need to assemble all of the little additions that will hopefully make the book stand out. In this case, different chapter headings, epigraphs and--in the case of this book--endnotes and (possibly) an appendix. This is the point where the book will more or less look the way it's supposed to when I start querying agents.
There is a lot of work to do, and I wonder if I'm going about it the right way. What's the method to your rewrite madness?