Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Revision is a Process by Catherine E. McLean

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.


Excerpt Two:

From Section 9 - Said is not Dead

One of the most controversial aspects of writing dialogue is the use of said as a speech tag. Some think using said is pedestrian and boring, others pepper every line of dialogue with said for fear the reader won't know who is speaking. The fact is that said is nearly invisible to a reader. However, overuse is a common problem, so delete as many as possible without jeopardizing clarity or use beats. (Revisit the Oubliette example on the previous page. Said was not used. Beats were.)

In your review to minimize using said, watch for LY or ING ending speech tags like: "Drop dead," she said dramatically. That tells (and does so poorly). Instead show with a beat: "Drop dead." The anger in her voice was unmistakable. You should avoid such tags as "Of course," he said knowingly (which has an ING and an LY). You may catch the LY and ING tags in the passivity check, which is discussed in Section 11. However, don't mistake the ING words when they're necessary, such as "Oh, that dialogue speech tag has a participle added to it," Marsha said, squinting at the underlined word on the page.

Yes, that's right, squinting is part of a participle phrase, which can be useful in speech tags.


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.

● Hub Website:

● Website for writers:

● Writers Cheat Sheets Blog:

● Linked-In: 

● Facebook:

● Twitter:!/CatherineMcLea7

● Pinterest:

● Amazon Author Page:

● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Amazon:

● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Barnes & Noble:

Guest post with Catherine E. McLean

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?
It sounded like an easy thing to do—write twelve blog essays, one each month on encouraging writers to end the frustration of self-editing by devising their own revision process. A process that would systematically catch flaws and errors to avoid endless rounds of trying to fix everything when noticed. After all, multi-tasking does not work because creativity must take a backseat to logic if the editing is to be effective. Add to that how many items need to be checked and the task usually has writers stuffing the manuscript in a box or drawer and starting something that's more fun— a new story.
Well, those twelve essays once a month were well-received and easy enough to do. Then I promised my readers I would put them all together into a guide, a book, that would also include all the lists and checkoffs and cheat sheets. Little did I know what I was undertaking in the way of setting up the book (formatting it) and expanding some sections with explanations, definitions, examples, and so on.
When I had the book set up and was almost ready to publish, I discovered I left out a section. Since I had already contracted and gotten the book cover done, I had to swap out information, condense some things, and get that prologue information into the book and keep to the same number of pages. Two months of almost daily work was involved because when you change one thing, it affects something else. Worse, there was no guide or manual on self-editing a book on self-editing! I was winging it. I wanted to scream with frustration.
But, as I tell writers and authors, take one thing at a time. Doing so gets the job done better and, in the end, you know you didn't miss anything.
So, I sent the manuscript out for editing and when it came back, there were a few changes that had to be made. Again, I could not change the number of pages so I had to finagle some things (mostly using smaller words for big ones to ax widows and orphans, which always nets more lines available for text).
Originally I had planned on doing an ebook version, but after getting the hard copy and looking at what would be sacrificed to strip it down to bare bones for an ebook, and knowing people would skim it and not use it as it was intended, well, I tabled the idea of it being an ebook.
Yet, in doing Revision is a Process, it helped me learn more about book layouts. It even helped me revamp the materials I used in my online writing courses. Will I do another yearly-blog-to-book? Ah . . . not for quite some time!



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

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I really enjoyed reading the guest post, thank you!

    1. Good morning, Nikolina,

      Thank you for dropping by this morning and enjoying the post. I wish you all the best of luck in the drawing and with your writing. Have a great day.

  2. Good morning! Thank you, Teresa, for featuring my guidebook for writers today. I will stop by periodically throughout the day to chat, answer questions, or talk about writing. Have a great day!

  3. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour and I hope it is a fun one for you :)

    1. Hi, Lisa,

      Thank you for your comments and stopping by. It's been an interesting tour. The best part has been chatting with commentators like you. Have a great day!

  4. I appreciate you doing all that editing so that editing is easier for us. For example, I took your advice and looked for the weasel word "it." Feeling confident I'd used the pronoun sparingly and correctly, I got a shock. One incorrect "it" made me look like a dummy. Thanks, Catherine.

    1. Good afternoon, Janet,

      You're welcome. And, hey, it's better you discovered the faux pas instead of an editor, agent, or reader. Thank you for dropping by. I wish you all the best with your writing endeavors (and your self-editing). Have a great day.

  5. Replies
    1. Hello, Rita.

      Revision is a Process is not only a good read, it's full of secrets, tips, shortcuts, and practical advice on self-editing. Thanks for your comments. Have a good day!

  6. Hi, Kim,

    I would call Revision is a Process an interesting and enlightening read. But then again, I'm prejudiced. LOL. Thank you for commenting. Enjoy your day.

  7. Congrats on the book tour. Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

    1. Hi, Joseph,

      Thank you for dropping by and commenting. I wish you luck in the drawing, and with your writing. Enjoy your week.

  8. Well, you answered my question about why it's not available as an ebook!

    1. Hi, Lynda,

      Yeah, bummer that Amazon isn't keen on PDF eBooks anymore. Stripping Revision is a Process to "text" defeats the purpose - which was to help writers self-edit with less frustration. Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great week.

  9. Replies
    1. Hi, Victoria,

      Glad you could stop by today. Have a great week, and I wish you luck in the drawing and with your writing endeavors.

  10. The day draws to a close, and I want to thank everyone who stopped by and commented. Good luck to each in the drawing.

    To Teresa, who hosted this blog tour stop, many, many thanks for featuring Revision is a Process.

    Good night one and all.

  11. This sounds like a great read.