Now that I've finally finished my current edit obligations (though I'm sure there will be more) I'm back to working on my current work in progress. Since I've been away from the story for about three weeks, this is a prime time to read it with a fresh eye.
Every writer has their own working styles and steps. When I get close to the end of a story I like to step away from it for a while and look at it after several weeks away. I print it out (yep, on real paper), put it in a three ring binder and walk away from the computer.
Then with my handy-dandy red pen and a pile of sticky notes, I read, take notes, mark changes and typos and errors. And when I finish I have a clearer idea of where I am as opposed to where I would like to be with the story.
As I'm reading, I put together a rough time-line of when what happened where. Sometimes I discover I have a character in two places at the same time. Not good. Once I found I had three different costumes on the same character at one party.
I also do a running list of all the "facts" I've mentioned regarding the main characters. If I mention that Joanie Heroine doesn't drink coffee, then it would be good to not find her in the cafe having a cup of joe with her girlfriend. If she started the story with red hair, it would not be good for Bob Hero to be playing with her ebony tresses at the end of the book.
The last thing I do is fill in a sheet with a list of characters from the book, no matter how minor. Because??? I once used "Jonah" for a minor character name three times within three chapters. I knew I liked that name, but really. Three Jonah's in one town?
Finally, I return to the computer and implement all the changes/revisions I jotted down. And then I finish the book. I always thought my need to print out the manuscript was just my own quirk. But recently I read an article that explained that human brains process the written electronic word differently than the written printed word. So I don't feel so bad anymore when I print and revise.
What about you? Do you revise? If so, what is your process?