Before you begin to revise your story you probably have hazy visions of correcting some misspellings, brushing up the grammar, possibly adding acknowledgements and a few appendices. Then you open that rough draught and the terrifying monster that is your story jumps out at you.
The plot points are all mixed up. There are huge gaps in the story line. You never figured out what you were going to make the villain's secret weapon be. And then there's that inspiring speech of the hero's that you typed up separately because you couldn't figure out where to fit it into the story.
Believe me, I've been there.
But no matter how horrible that story may seem to you don't throw it away, or shred it, or burn it, or do antimatter experiments on it. Revise it. Somewhere in that mess of senseless brain sludge is a beautiful adventure waiting to come out and amaze you. Don't give up because your butterfly is still a chrysalis.
So here are some other revision tips:
Set the story aside for awhile. It may take a few weeks or a few months, but leave it alone--especially if you're sick of it. After writing 50,000 words of rough draught in 30 days for Nanowrimo, I'm sucked dry of ideas for the story and don't even want to think about it until after Christmas. After a few months have passed though a few new ideas for the story begin to trickle into my brain. That's when I know I'm ready to pull it out again, dust it off, and take a look at it. And guess what--surprise! It's not as horrible as I remember it being. There are some good gemstones in there ready to be dug out and polished.
Make a copy. Making a copy of your story is freeing. You can delete as much as you like and if you decide you want some of it back, it's still there in your original document. I hate to remove beautiful sentences even if they have nothing to do with my story, but if I have that backup copy I feel free to do it and know I can find them again if I need them. On the other hand, I've revised stories without making a back-up and lost beautiful things forever because I thought they weren't working for the story, deleted them, and then couldn't get them back later when I realised I still needed them. I wasted a lot of time rewriting stuff because I got trigger-happy with the backspace button.
What's the point? Not the point of writing the story--the point of the story. Revising often becomes rewriting and, if you're not careful, your story can morph into something completely different from what you started out with. Remember what you were trying to say with the story and stick to it. --Unless, of course, you don't mind your spy thriller turning into a gothic romance.
Beef it up. Remember those ideas that started coming to you after a month or so? They may be perfect for filling troublesome plot holes. Go ahead and throw them in. If they don't work, you can remove them again later.
Rearrange. It may be helpful to go through the story and label different scenes. That way they're easy to find if you need to move a scene to a different place in the story. A lot of plot holes can be closed up simply by moving scenes around.
Delete Delete Delete. Take out those scissors and slice up that story. Ruthlessly remove everything that doesn't push the story along. Sure, you can keep some fun and games in there, but just remember this: if it's not helping your story, it's not helping you. If you're hopelessly attached to some part that just isn't necessary to the story, you can save it forever in your original document and maybe use it in another story another time.
Remember why you wrote it. Before you give up and banish the story to the dust bin, take a moment to remember why you wanted to write the story in the first place. This will save you lots of emotional trauma later on in the form of the story's ghost coming to haunt you. Did you have a story the world needed to hear? A story you needed to hear? Remembering why you loved the story to begin with gives you the will to push through through the messy revising stage.
It was NOT a waste of time. Maybe you decide that the story is just too derivative or boring or improbable. If it's really not worth your time and effort revising it, save it and put it away in a drawer somewhere--you may use bits and pieces of it in other stories. And even if not, you've practiced your craft and you've learned something. Nothing you write is ever wasted.
And remember: Upgrade! Don't Exterminate!