Revision is a Process –

How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing

by Catherine E. McLean


GENRE: Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Non-Fiction



A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader’s money and time.

Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. REVISION IS A PROCESS is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to’s, and why-to’s for taking the frustration out of self-editing.


Book Cover Revision is a Process


From Section 7, Show Don’t Tell – What to Cut or Change

One rule of fiction is to show more and tell less.

What does that mean?

A very simple example is that saying it’s a flower is telling but to say it’s a white rose, its petals edged with a mist of ruby-pink is showing.

Showing means providing an instant, vivid image so the reader sees in their mind what was meant.

Yes, showing requires more words than telling, but how much detail is too much detail when showing?

Keep in mind that readers will stop reading and skim over sentences and paragraphs of details in order “to get to the good stuff” of drama, action, and something happening of interest. So it’s best to choose all descriptive words carefully and keep the passages succinct.

Now— Go through your manuscript and highlight all descriptive phrases and passages so you can see how much of the total text is description.

If using your word processor’s highlight feature, pause to zoom down to view entire pages and look at the end of pages to see how much carried over to the next page.

If you have exceeded three sentences (20-60 words) of description or explanation at any spot, that may be overkill. Determine what needs to be cut, pared down, rewritten, or reparagraphed for visual effect and immediacy, and what is too lengthy, mundane, or bordering on boring.

It’s also important, when revising such areas, to remember that the replacement words should be in keeping with the story’s or scene’s narrator—and not you, the author, stepping onto the page with your voice, (that’s a type of Author Intrusion that readers hate).


AuthorPhoto_Revision is a Process

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Catherine E. McLean’s lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hard cover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA & MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and advenure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS – HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.

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More About the Author

When not writing, what can you be found doing?

Sewing. I find it rewarding to have clothes that fit and which are distinct. I have been sewing since I was seven years old. At ten, I joined 4-H, then I became a 4-H leader (who retired last year after twenty years that covered two states and four counties). Looking back, I touched the lives of and educated more than three hundred and fifty kids.

Since age ten, I have won numerous prizes and ribbons at the local fairs with my sewing projects, which have ranged from elegant and fancy aprons to finely detailed and tailored coats.

Before retiring from owning and showing Morgan Sport Horses, I made hunt seat, saddleseat, sidesaddle, driving, and western riding attire. I’ve even made my daughter’s medieval costumes.

Currently I’m having a great time creating Erte (the Father of Art Deco) outfits for a fashion doll named Darq – https://jewelsofthesky.wordpress.com/2014/01/

This doll has become the avatar-heroine of my sci-fi adventure novel JEWELS OF THE SKY – http://tinyurl.com/jewelsofthesky-book. New photos of her antics and outfits are posted at the book’s blog –  https://jewelsofthesky.wordpress.com.

My most recent sewing project was a tote bag to use at a large spring writer’s conference. I wanted a clear plastic pocket on the outside to display the cover of my sci-fi romance novella HEARTS AKILTERhttp://tinyurl.com/HeartsAkilter-Amazonlink. I also needed pockets for pens, paper, business cards, personal items, etc. Best of all, my tote is sized so a folder or two and my Samsung tablet can easily be carried and accessed. (There are a total of eleven pockets.) The tote has a handle-strap as well as a removable, leather shoulder strap. This tote was entered in the local fair and took a blue ribbon.

One thing some people find odd is that I don’t quilt. Okay, I might quilt a pocket or something small, but making a bed-sized quilt? No. Sorry. Quilts and quilting that large a project just doesn’t appeal to me.


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


16 thoughts on “Revision is a Process by Catherine E. McLean

  1. Good morning, and thank you for having me as your guest today and featuring REVISION IS A PROCESS. I will stop back during the day to answer questions or just chat about writing or sewing or whatever.

    To Nikolina, thank you so much for following the tour – and have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many quilters don’t quilt their quilts. They sew the tops and take them to a professional quilter to quilt. I call these sewers “toppers,” but it’s an option if you’re ever inspired to make pictures with fabric. I bet Darq would love a quilt for her birthday or Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Janet,

      “Toppers?” That’s a new term for me, but still, no, I’m not likely to make a topper. But I like the suggestion of a gift-quilt for Darq (but for Pete’s sake, don’t anyone tell her!). LOL

      Thanks for stopping by today, Janet. Have a good week with your writing.

      (For those who don’t know who Darq is, she is the doll avatar of my novel JEWELS OF THE SKY and Darq blogs at https://jewelsofthesky.wordpress.com/. She’s a shoe-aholic and somewhat of a fashionista – I sew all her costumes.)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Bernie,
      You ask an interesting question. I can only recall three books that I read a second time (and they were ages apart from the first reading). Since I’m a binge reader and only able to read books when on vacation, I like to read new works. Do you regularly reread books?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The evening has grown late and the day is coming to an end. I thank my host for having me as a guest. Many thanks, too, to those who stopped by and commented. Many good wishes for all who entered the raffle. May you all be winners with your writing (if not the raffle!).

    Liked by 1 person

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