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Revising is Hard – Strategies On How to Revise a Book

Novel writer Caitlin Maskowitz discusses the challenges she had while revising her book and the strategies that helped her enhance her writing.

By Caitlin Maskowitz

May 13, 2022

I wrote the first draft of my manuscript in about nine months, at the beginning of the pandemic. If I can block out the traumatic memories of getting furloughed while pregnant and worries about bringing a baby into a sci-fi novel version of the world, it was such a lovely time. I would pour my coffee, check in with my fellow writers on Slack and then dive into the story for a few hours. It was a writing-life dream. Now, deep into revisions, I look back fondly on my drafting days. For me, the real work started after the first draft was complete.

Much like motherhood, book revision has been a challenging and rewarding process. I’ve completed four revisions of the full manuscript and reworked vexing sections countless times. The more I read and learn, the more revision opportunities emerge, like making sure each scene is carrying the right amount of tension to drive the story forward. Sometimes, it seems the work will never end.

In this monthly column, I’ll break down the strategies and resources that have helped me approach book revision and enhance my writing. I’ll also share my mistakes and what I’ve learned from them, like how unrealistic goals don’t lead to success, but feelings of failure. Next time, I’ll share how getting creative with book revision and building a routine has helped me maintain a writing life.

Caitlin Maskowitz is a founding member of book inc.