Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deborah Wiles on Understanding Revision #scbwiwwa

Reported by Brenda Winter Hansen

After Deborah Wiles fantastic keynote Saturday morning, her breakout session, Understanding Revision, was packed to standing room only. Deborah began by crowd sourcing with the question, What is revision? She encouraged us to re-examine our process every time and to pay particular attention to reading like a writer to aid in revision. Ask yourself, HOW did that work?

Deborah then took apart three "perfect" picture books (Car Wash, The Paperboy, and Owl Babies) to show how every story should work (from picture book to novel). What they showed:

-Don't be afraid to use fragments of speech
-Ignore any prohibitive things, but know what you can't ignore
-Pay attention to language; make sure it's appropriate to your age, genre, etc
-Use foreshadowing judiciously
-Let your writing infer, DON'T spell everything out
-Bring the story full circle for a satisfactory ending

Other tips:
-Before starting a project, it helps to focus on "one clear moment in time." Writing a focus sentence about that helps keep your story in check.
-Make sure every scene, chapter, and story has a beginning, middle, and end.
-Remember that every emotion has an action.
-Make dialogue work for you. Its three jobs are: characterization, providing information, and pushing the story forward. If it's not doing this, then cut it.

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