Like too many other budding novelists, I have been writing for years under the assumption that if I just keep putting in the hours I will somehow, magically, develop all the skills I need. Again and again I have finished a novel, tried to revise it only to make it still-lackluster, and moved on to the next new project thinking that this time I’d get it right. I thought, mistakenly, that I was simply bad at revising until I realized that it was just something I’d never learned how to do. After accepting the fact that revision was a skill set all its own, I went in search of how-to resources. There are a great many books out there aimed at helping writers improve their craft, books with advice on how to improve plot, pacing, characterization, etc. But I couldn’t find any with the basic, step-by-step instruction that I needed. Until now.
I discovered Story Grid, a podcast, blog, and book all meant to give aspiring novelists the painstakingly thorough guide they need through revision. It breaks the process down into the smallest steps I have yet seen. I was hesitant to try plugging my current novel’s plot into an Excel spreadsheet but once the plot is untangled from the narrative and stripped down to its simplest components, the flaws are much easier to spot. It may not be the answer for everyone but I think it’s probably worth any hopeful writer’s time if they’re struggling with how-to-revise.