I have two pages of revision notes in front of me, as well as the fantastic comments from my critique group, who just finished reading my new manuscript. I am now going through the novel chapter by chapter, changing some small things (perhaps tweaking the things on the page I have mentioned about the boy's mother) and some larger things (adding another scene with the two main characters, earlier in the story.)
So as I begin these revisions, I realize this will be an entirely new draft of my manuscript. Here's how I keep track of it. I have saved the earlier version in four different ways - on my hard drive, on an external hard drive, on a flash drive, and by emailing it to myself.
Then, I copy and paste the entire document into a new blank document and rename it. Whatever works, something like: Life on the Run, Summer 2010 (and no, that's not the name of my ms, but it's cool, huh?) Name it something so that you can definitely know which version you are working on.
At this point, some people might use Track Changes (a feature on Word.) I have never become comfortable using this, because even though all the changes sit out to the side in small print and a different color, it messes up the margins and the formatting.
I prefer to just make changes as I go, but here's another helpful thing I do. I open another blank document, and I label it "Unused scenes and paragraphs from Life on the Run." Then, if I decide to delete a larger portion of the manuscript (more than just a few words) I just cut and paste it into the new document, making a note about where they came from - like end of chapter 12, or something. Presto, those awesome words are saved, and I can continue on with my revisions, knowing I can always find them again, quite easily, if I need to.
I don't often want those words back. But I might want to use them elsewhere, or I might just want to read them again and compare. Besides, we are writers, and we do sometimes become enamoured of our own writing. See my post Killing your Darlings.
Anyway, this is how I do it.
How do you revise? Any tips or tricks you'd like to share?