Nancy's Books

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Chapter Book Revision, continued

When I revise, I focus on one or two elements at a time. In this latest revision, I worked on changing an unreliable protagonist to a somewhat reliable one. That’s all I worked on, and limited that work to the first three chapters. Once I get the first three chapters polished, I’ll revise the remainder of the book, still focused on the aspects of correcting the actions of an unreliable narrator. At that point, I will begin at Chapter 1 and revise two more elements. I choose to work on one or two elements at a time, so I remain focused on those corrections, alone. If I attempt to revise everything, chapter-by-chapter, I lose focus. Other writers might be able to, but not this one. 

My goal is to intrigue the reader with a character. Here’s a quick method that’s worth your time. Reread the first five pages of your manuscript. From those five pages only, list what the reader knows about the character. If you list only two or three items, revise. If you list eight to ten items, you’re off to a great start on character development. Spend time developing the main character, because the protagonist will carry the story from beginning to end. 

Why am I spending so much time on the first part of the book? I have to grab the reader’s attention immediately and hold it. If the dialog, characters, and plot don’t resonate, the pages won’t be turned.
I've also been working on narrative voice, the use of language that says what it says in an interesting way: phrasing that tickles the ear or surprises in some way, unexpected narrative, and age-appropriate dialog. The dialog should promote the plot or help develop the character. Read it aloud. How does it sound? Does it sound like the age of the reader?  

By honing in on one or two elements, writers give full attention to correcting or improving each. If revision in one swoop through the manuscript becomes overwhelming, give this method a go. 

That’s not all. In my next blog, I’ll discuss more elements of revision.           

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Youth Imagination publishes stories relevant to teens. Genres: Fiction, including modern, urban or classical fantasy, as well as sci-fi, slipstream, literary, action-adventure or suspense. "We particularly love stories exploring their issues, such as bullying, drugs, romance, school, parental issues, teacher issues, etc., as well as about the grit and character of teens and young adults."
Submission guidelines at 

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

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