For some reason, that word makes me cringe. Yes, there are people who love revising. I'm not one of them. Give me a premise or a character and I'll write a first draft any day. I love the adventure of plotting and creating. But to fix it? I mean, isn't everything perfect the first time it hits the page?
Haha. I wish. Luckily there are people full of helpful information. I just finished a final revision for my book coming out in May, and now I'm going to share with you my 3 best pieces of advice.
#1-Get a critique partner...or five. The more the merrier. Read their comments and consider their advice. But don't change something unless you want to. It's your book. But at least think about their suggestions. If they mention something, stumbled on a word, or a fact...that means it was noticeable. And if your CP's catch it, most of the time readers will too. That's not always the case, but more often than not, my CP's have similar comments. Which is another reason it's nice to have more than one or two. You can compare their suggestions and decide what's best for your story!
#2. Let it rest. Honestly, everything's better after a little rest, right? If I don't get rest, nothing out of my mouth makes sense. If you don't take a break from your story, chances are, it will make sense to you, but not to everyone else. You need that space to gain a different perspective, to think subjectively about your characters, their actions, their decisions, everything. Let it rest and go back to it with fresh eyes!
#3. Read it from top to bottom. Not just once. I'd say it's safe to do after every revision. Even if you think you only made a few changes, sometimes there's a word missing, or an addition you didn't notice. At times one change can have a domino effect. You may not remember mentioning something you omitted later on in the story. Once you do a read-through, though, you'll be able to recognize inconsistencies, word repetitions, etc. Keep it consistent and keep it real :)
As far as formatting, one of my CP's pointed me to this blog post by Vickie Motter. It's fantastic!
And if you want more revision tips, Agent Christa Heschke is doing a weekly blog post entitled Revisions From Authors For Authors. Be sure to check it out!
I hope that helps! Good luck with your writing and happy revisions!!!