Blog Chain: Art of Revising

Whoa! I almost totally missed this blog post chain. July has been a whirlwind for me. But I'm back and raring to go! The wonderful and talented Sarah asked this round's topic.

How do you handle revisions? Do you revise as you're writing, or do you wait until you've gone through beta readers and crit partners to revise? How soon after you finish do you begin your revisions?

According to the bylaws of my therapy group, Writer's Anonymous, I must admit that... sigh... I have ORS: Obsessive Revising Syndrome. Yes! I admit it! I'm a compulsive reviser. I handle revisions to the point where I'm revising more than actually writing.

But I swear that I'm getting better!

When the writing bug first struck, I would revise after just a few paragraphs. PARAGRAPHS! You can't imagine the amount of time it took to finish one page - let alone a chapter. When I finally noticed how slow I was going, I cut myself back slowly to every page and then to every chapter. I still do this on occasion, like a nail biter examining each finger looking for a sliver of an overhang to start gnawing on.

At this point in my life, I'm to where I revise after about every five to ten chapters. If I have an idea on how many chapters there will be then I sort of split up the story into three sections and revise. One day I hope to get to the point where I'll write a full manuscript straight through and then revise. Perhaps, one day, I'll even send a completely written manuscript to beta readers and crit partners without one smidgen of a revising note.


I have ORS - Obsessive Revising Syndrome. But I am getting better.

Visit the talented Christine who posted before me and the incredible Kat who will post tomorrow.


  1. I'm with you on revising more than writing! But as long as the story is improving, I'm OK with it.

  2. Wow, there's actually a name for my disease? Awesome. Where do I sign up for WA? I so need to be a member :) Great post, Michelle.

  3. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I have that too! But my symptoms are a little different. :-)

  4. ORS! HA! I love it! Glad to know that you are slowly conquering the problem though;)

  5. ORS! haha! SO FUNNY! I have that at times... when I'm polishing something that has to be really, really spiffy, I have a tendency to go over something time and again changing just one word and then another, and then.... well, you can see how it gets out of control! :)

  6. ORS? Ha! I totally have that. I can't wait until they come out with a pill for it. Hee.

  7. Holy cow...I have ORS too. I had no idea there was a name for it!

  8. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with your ORS. I look at it like this: revising time and writing time are separate. I write in the mornings and revise in the afternoons (it's a mental thing). So even if I'm revising as I go, I'm still making forward progress on the book. And it can even be helpful. I remember a situation on a manuscript where I was reading over an earlier chapter and something jumped out at me that helped me resolve a situation I was currently in. So long as you don't let revising take over, I think you're good :)

  9. I'm sorry I'm so late to comment! I totally have ORS, too, and I love that you have a name for it.


All comments are welcome. Thanks for stopping by!