Monday, May 21, 2012

In Which I Share More Stuff Pt. 3

All right! This is my last post regarding the Children's and YA Literature Conference. This will just be covering Megan Atwood's Steps for Revising which I'm sure we're all interested in. At least I know I always am.

Fun fact. After this panel (and some thoughts from a trusted Beta Reader) I realized I was finally ready to begin querying my MS Break Free. So, officially I started querying three weeks ago. Fun times! Cross your fingers for me.

And since we're on crossing fingers - today is also the day the 8 Agents participating in the Writer's Voice Competition vote on the entries. Cross your fingers (again) that I get a vote. I would be over the moon happy if even one agent would like to see more.

OK. Sorry. Back to the revisions.

Megan Atwood was awesome. I would, hands down, take a class from her. She was also really really funny, which is always fun.

Deets on her: Megan Atwood created the Young Adult imprint Flux through Llewellyn Publications and was an acquiring editor for five years as well as an agent for one year through Firebrand Literary. She currently writes work-for-hire projects for publishers and has published 14 children's books.

OK. Her steps for revision:

  1. Feeling for the bones: Does your premise suit your story? Does your story start in the right place? Is your narrative Arc arcing? Can you add some more sensory language?
  2. Characters: Does your MC grow/does the inner journey match the outer journey? Are secondary, yet important characters growing (or not)? How often are you in your character's head - when can you ground emotion in the body (show don't tell)?
  3. Pacing/Suspense/Foreshadowing: What scenes need to be slowed or sped - are your important scenes given the time they deserve? Are events and emotions "earned"? Are you giving out the right info when you need to? Do your chapters end with some sort of suspense and are you zigzagging those so as not to fatigue your reader?
  4. Language: Are you overusing dialogue tags? Which words can you change to enhance ambiance?
  5. Repeat: Put it aside for at least two weeks and work on something else. Try to read for pleasure to turn off your editor brain. Then start over at step one.

So there you have it! It sounds easy, natch, but we all know it's much harder than that. Still, it's always nice to have a game plan


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good revision tips for any genre.
And thinking positive thoughts for you, Sarah!

Katie O'Sullivan said...

LOVE the wishing photo!
Good luck with tehQuery process - thinking good thoughts for you!

LD Masterson said...

Saving those revision tips and keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Matthew MacNish said...

Excellent. Off to Monica's.

vic caswell said...

wishing with all my might!!!!!

Southpaw said...

Great tips that suit all fiction writing.

Austin Gorton said...

Fingers crossed!

Talli Roland said...

Those are great tips, all around.

And I'm crossing my fingers for you!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, good luck with your querying and with the agent contest! The revision process looks relatively like mine, except I think I should probably dig a little to be more analytical with that bones and character piece. I think more on a story level, rather than separating the two out.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I hope you land an agent. I'm so excited for you. If you do happen to get a rejection or two, do not let those get you down. Ignore them. You are a great writer. You will be recognized for it.

Maria Zannini said...

I remember Firebrand Literary. I thought they went out of business.

Ref: contest
Got toes and fingers crossed for you.

Anonymous said...

Nice tips. Best of luck with querying!

DL Hammons said...

I went to the DFW Conference this weekend and attended a session that said many of those same points. Great stuff!

Good luck!! :)

TL Conway said...

I think you have good news to share from this!! ;)

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