9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Donna Earnhardt wrote a terrific post, Burning Down the House, that covered how reading out loud helps to revise. Then, saputnam had a great comment about how she color-codes her submissions, and that reminded me of another way to revise. Then that got me to thinking of other ways to revise. That lead me to thinking, just how !any ways are there to revise. Here’s my list:
- Read out loud (thanks Donna)
This not only gets your brain working, but your ears as well. You will stutter and stumble over words and phrases that are out of place and don’t belong.
- Read backwards (thanks again Donna)
This will help see gaps in your plot, where you need to rearrange or add to build the right sequence.
- Read to an audience (Donna is the bomb)
This is where you can see how people react. Did they laugh? Was there an Ah-ha! moment.
- Observe a reading.
Here’s where you combine watching you audience reactions with listening to the story to see of things are off, Make notes. Don’t have a reader? Record yourself and play it back.
- Highlight your text.
Use different colors for dialog, action, passive texts. This will give you a color-coded visual of your story.
- Cut up text and place in a storyboard.
This will show pacing. you can see where there are holes and where text !at be too heavy.
- Draw it out. (thanks Alison)
You can also use doodles of your text to make sure your story is moving forward and hasn’t stalled out. In picture books, every word counts!
- Draw a story arc. (thanks Alayne)
This is also called ‘The W Factor’ or ‘The Heartbeat of the Story’ and shows pacing well too. Here you go up and down determined by the conflicts and resolutions -aka Cause and Effect– of your story.
- Read, read, read.
Yes read your story, parts of your story, and then read it some more. Make it flow effortlessly!
- Set it aside.
How is this revision?Think of wine, if you taste it right away, sure it will be good, but if you put it away. Don’t open it. The body develops. When you taste it again, there will be notes that highlight the flavor. The body will be fuller. It will be like tasting it for the first time. The same can happen with your story. You will have separated yourself from the text and can see it with fresh eyes. Mistakes will pop out. Things will make you smile. You will get the goosies when you read THE LINE.
So what are some of the ways you revise? Do you have a routine that is different from those listed?
:::Leave a comment:::
Let me know how you tighten a story.
You have one more day to finish qualifying for the raffle prizes!!! All entries must be done by Friday, July 11th, at 11:59 pm, est. THAT’S A WRAP post will explain the steps to qualify!
Missed a SUMMER SPARK? Don’t worry, you can find them here:
Day 1: In Celebration of Summer Magic by Kelly Milner Halls
Day 2: The Power of Doodling by Alison K. Hertz
Day 3: Cause & Effect by Alayne Kay Christian
Day 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Day 5: A Visual Writing Prompt: Begin at the End by Julie Gribble
Day 6: The Final Word by Jodi Moore
Day 7: Inspiration Station by Susanna Hill
Day 8: Voice and Word Choice in Picture Books by Tara Lazar
Day 9: Platform Building Can You Build It? Yes, You Can! by Tracey M. Cox
Day 10: 5 Ways to Hook Your Reader with Your Very First Line by Kirsti Call
Day 11: Burning Down the House aka Revision by Donna Earnhardt
Day 12: Persistence by Donna M. McDine
Day 13: Writing Your Way to a Spark by Kris Dinnison
Day 14: Hope In Your Heart by Carol Gordon Ekster
BONUS: What Songs Rock Your World? by Claire Rudolf Murphy
THAT’S A WRAP!
Follow-up #1: TIPS
Follow-up #2: 9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Prize Announcement: Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!