By Maggie Lauren Brown
When it comes to revision advice, you have likely heard that’s it’s a good idea to let your manuscript sit for awhile so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Of course, this is true. But there are also strategies to help see your story in a new light without the waiting period. Many of these ideas are meant for picture books, but some can be used for longer novels as well.
First, make sure to read your story aloud. This will help you notice awkward wording, areas that drag, or unrealistic dialogue.
Have someone else read your story to you. It’s better if they haven’t read the story before, and even better if you can find a willing kid! You’ll hear areas that trip them up, or places that they read in a way you weren’t expecting.
If you can’t find anyone to help, Word documents can read your story to you. If you go to Review -> Read Aloud or use the shortcut Alt + Control + Space, Word will read your document aloud. Even a computerized voice can be enlightening!
Another strategy is using the Voice Memo app in your phone—record yourself reading your story and then listen to it back.
The next method is to switch up how you see your story. If you’re used to reading on a computer screen, print it out. You could even create a dummy to see where the text would be broken into page turns. Try switching up your font—you’d be surprised how small changes can help you notice things you haven’t before.
Next, try changing your environment. If you’re used to working in a home office, bring a copy of your story outside. What if you walk around while you read it? Even something as simple as changing rooms can change your perspective. If you’re used to working during the day, give nighttime a try.
The biggest take away here: switch it up! Shaking things up will help you see your work in new ways. Happy revising!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.