Revisions. The bane of my existence, but a necessary evil. No matter how talented or famous the writer is, nobody gets it right the first time, so everybody has to revise. At least I'm in good company.
There's no secret formula for revising a piece, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
~ Does your story start too soon, too late, or in exactly the right place?
~ Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, adjectives, facial expressions, certain dialogue tags, or interjections?
~ Have you double-checked your research to make sure your facts are correct? For non-fiction you should be using more than one source and you need to correctly cite your sources.
~ Are both the tense you’re using and the perspective consistent? Is the point of view consistent?
~ Is there more than one major plot? If so, are you able to trace them all in a logical manner?
~ Look at your sentences. You don't want them sounding all the same so make sure you avoid sections where they seem to all start with the same word. Also, varying the length of your sentences can add flavour and texture to your story.
~ Make sure the words you’re using are appropriate for the piece, subject matter, and targeted audience. Occasional repetition can be use effectively for emphasis, but you want to avoid overuse of favourite words or phrases.
~ Do you have enough description and detail that your reader feels grounded in the world you’ve created? Is there too much description?
~ Is it obvious what your characters want and what motivates them?
~ Are your characters well developed or do they seem flat? Are they people someone will want to keep reading about?
~ Do you show both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters? Do the relationships between your characters grow and develop and become more complicated as the story proceeds?
~ Does your dialogue sound natural, or forced? It needs to move the story forward and each of your characters should have a distinctive voice. As well, you want to make sure the dialogue, narrative, and description are well balanced so they flow naturally and seamlessly.
~ Have you shown what’s going on in your story using action and detail, or merely told what’s going on without engaging the reader? Your scenes need to make sense and move the story forward. They need to lead smoothly from one to another without jumps that the reader won't understand. Each mini-climax/resolution should lead to another problem.
~ Does your piece move at a proper pace, keeping the reader interested from start to finish? You may need to tighten up places where the story drags, or slow down where it seems rushed.
~ Are the crucial events of the story given the attention they deserve? Is there enough conflict? Not enough conflict?
~ Does your story have a satisfying climax? Is it too drawn out? Too rushed? Does it come at the right time?
Hope this helps with your revisions. :-D