Monday, August 23, 2010

Tips for Revision

I got the following tips from Writing Picture Books, A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul.  It came in the mail a couple days ago.  Chapters 3, 4, and 5, Telling Your Story - Parts One, Two, and Three offer lots of ways to revise a story.

Change point-of-view.

  • Third person, limited
  • Third person, limited DIFFERENT CHARACTER
  • Third person, omniscient
  • First person
  • First person, letter style
  • First person, journal style
  • Second person
Change voice or style.
  • Apostrophe voice (mc speaks to something that cannot speak back)
  • Mask voice (mc becomes an inanimate object)
  • Conversation style (without tags)
Change setting.
  • Change tense from present to past, or vice versa.
  • Change time period of story.
  • Change location (setting) of story.
  • Change characters to animals, or vice versa.
The point isn't to revise your story into something it's not (or maybe it is).  But really to make you re-see the story.  Just try 5 of the above ways FOR THE FIRST PARAGRAPH ONLY.  If you really like the way the new story is headed or how it sounds, then revise the whole story in the same way.  Maybe you'll even change it in multiple ways within the same revision. 

While reading these ideas, I thought of another.  Change from rhyme to prose, or vice versa.  So today, that's what I did.  I took my 890 word rhyming story about a girl with the hiccups and rewrote it from scratch in prose.  I'm sure it's quite a terrible first draft.  Even still, the exercise cut 400 words out bringing it down to 490 words.  I'm not convinced I like it in prose, even though it was just a first draft, and just an exercise.  I wanted to see what would happen.  Well, what happened is that I found a section I could cut.  And hopefully consolidate a little in a couple other places.  I doubt it will bring the word count down that much.  But it will bring it down some.  And that wasn't even my goal.  But the exercise was valuable.  So I still have much more work ahead of me.

I would love to see what others have tried and what results you've gotten.

P.S.  Read how the suspense is killing me.  Someone step up to the plate...


  1. I'm studying the same book right now. I decided to read it all the way through before going back to try the exercises. To be honest, that's been VERY difficult. Great advice.

    Keep up the good posts!

  2. It looks like that is how I am doing it, too. Read first, then go back and do the exercises. I'm kind of doing some of them in my head, though.



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