Thursday, March 25, 2010

Revision Notes

by Hilde Garcia

Last week, I shared my notes from Karen Cushman’s break out sessions. Here is some excellent information from Jordan’s session as well as a little about him.

Jordan Brown joined Walden Pond Press at HarperCollins Children’s Books in October 2008, having spent his first five years in publishing with Atheneum Books/Simon & Schuster. One of his first acquisitions, M. Sindy Felin’s Touching Snow, was a National Book Award finalist, an Edgar Award nominee, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

In the notes I took in his sessions, he discusses two types of revision and pacing.

Jordan Brown
Now What? Revision

Large Scale Revision Tips

  1. What is the age of the MC? Make sure to match the age to the group you write for.
  2. Ask yourself, can kids relate to your character?
  3. What’s the number one thing that drives your MC?
  4. Not all scenes build on narrative thread… so pay attention to sub scenes or stories.
  5. If you delete sub stories, what is your main thread? Is it clear?
  6. Play with the order of your scenes and where your story begins and don’t toss anything away.
But there are times when it is helpful to put your beats/scenes in order, ie historical fiction.

Small Scale Revision Tips

  1. Overwrite if you have to, so then you can edit what the character actually sees and wants to say.
  2. Look for the moments that tell you about MC by showing them in a situation and how they react.
  3. Write an important and unique story and try not to do something that is over done.
  4. Delete a character that is not serving the story’s arc. How does that improve the story?
  5. What’s this the most important story/moment in the character’s life?
Pacing Consideration
  1. If it gets to resolution to quickly, it didn’t go the extra step, that’s a let down, so go back and add levels.
  2. Give something that you don’t expect should happen.
  3. Telling old stories in new ways is great like a classic story with a new twist.
  4. Think outside the box in the format of your story telling.
  5. Great characters have to be in your story, not just great main characters.
  6. A great plot does not equal a great book. Look at elements like theme, etc.
I enjoyed listening to these tips. I love when someone like and editor or an agent breaks it down and makes it tangible. I feel it helps give me a starting point. I am in the middle of a grand scale revision, which Jordan said, traditionally is longer. His session was very helpful. I have these tips in my notebook and when I am stuck, I check them to see if there is something I can do to move my writing forward. I am glad to share them with you.

Jane Yolen refers to revision as a “new vision”. You see your words in a new way and that gives you another layer for your story. I like that. Here’s wishing you a happy new vision on all your story ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Great tips Hilde. I know I can use them. Thank you


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