Revision - Kate Messner


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Children's author and teacher Kate Messner's presentation called Walking the Walk: How Teacher Writers Encourage Student Revision

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Revision - Kate Messner

  1. 1. Walking the Walk: How Teacher-Writers Can Encourage Student Revision Kate Messner, Children’s Author & NBCT New York State English Council October 23, 2008
  2. 2. What’s writing really like?
  3. 4. Seeing things in a new way…
  4. 5. Cynthia Lord, Newbery Honor Author of Rules Shrunken Manuscript Technique
  5. 6. A Newbery author’s office…
  6. 8. A Shrunken Manuscript Strategy Courtesy of Darcy Pattison PINK = plot points GREEN = crush BLUE = Ruby ORANGE = funny bits with Ian YELLOW = place for the tree game
  7. 9. THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z Walker Books for Young Readers Fall 2009
  8. 14. Erin Dionne January 2009 <ul><li>• I do a quick summary of each scene in my novel on color-coded index cards. Blue are scenes that feature friends, green for school, pink for family, yellow for the beauty pageant (in MODELS). </li></ul><ul><li>Then I lay them out in piles to see if I have a good balance across the novel. </li></ul><ul><li>Then I deal them out in order and make sure they tell the story in the best way possible. If not, I can rearrange them. I've attached a photo of them, if that's helpful. </li></ul>
  9. 15. Michelle Zink <ul><li>Are there any loose ends in the plot? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there ANY points where the story (in my read-through) felt slow? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the characters feel authentic all the way through? DO they each have their own voice? </li></ul>
  10. 16. Neesha Meminger <ul><li>Change the way it looks. </li></ul><ul><li>Single space. </li></ul><ul><li>Change the font. </li></ul><ul><li>Change your location. </li></ul><ul><li>Now revise. </li></ul>
  11. 17. Jeannine Atkins Something I look for when I read are concrete things that might make readers come closer through their 5 senses. In picture books, the illustrator, of course, adds to the visual, and dialogue helps with hearing, so I look for details that might evoke taste or scent. Writing Anne Hutchinson's Way, I knew she was a midwife, and researched herbs she might have used in caring for women and infants. I could write about her sleeves smelling of chamomile and mint.
  12. 18. Laurie Halse Anderson Make sure that the plot of the story unfolds in a logical order. Then I trace the emotional journey of my main character. (I often stick in the emotional response I want, instead of what the situation merits in an early draft.) Once those two aspects are nailed down (which takes FOREVER) I try to make the details in each scene as specific as possible. And I pay a lot of attention to transitions. FYI - I've never been able to write a novel in fewer than seven drafts.
  13. 19. E.M. Crane <ul><li>Draw a big flowchart with pictures that show key phrases and plot points, kind of like a graphic novel. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s extraordinarily messy, but the work done by graphic novelists today is a great way to visualize and conceptualize a story.” </li></ul>
  14. 20. Vijaya Khisty Bodach <ul><li>An organization strategy for non-fiction… </li></ul><ul><li>Go from specific to general or general to specific. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I am a visual person, so it helps if I physically cut up my various paragraphs and put them in the proper order. Sometimes this also shows me what is missing.” </li></ul>http://www. vijayabodach .com
  15. 21. Linda Urban <ul><li>Read out loud and listen to see if the voice is working, if the rhythm is right. </li></ul><ul><li>“ I can also tell when I’m boring myself, and I usually flag those parts in the text.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I also put all the events in the book on a calendar, which helped me to make sure things were happening at a logical pace. </li></ul>
  16. 22. Nancy Viau <ul><li>Give people in your critique group three roles. The Good Guys can only say good things about the piece. The Bad Guys can only say negative things. The Grammar Police uncover grammatical errors. </li></ul><ul><li>From Nancy’s School Presentation “Write Away” </li></ul>Amulet, Fall 2008
  17. 23. David Lubar <ul><li>Take a break! Let the story sit for a week or two before you go back to revise. </li></ul><ul><li>“ After all, ‘revise’ means ‘see again.’ You can’t take a second look at something unless you first look away.” </li></ul>
  18. 24. Kwame Alexander <ul><li>&quot;When asked to define poetry, Adam, a student at Stafford Middle School, said that poems are &quot;a get-together of emotions.&quot; I love the idea of words partying. Of course, in order to throw an awesome party, you have to have the &quot;write&quot; ingredients. Biggest on the list is rewriting, which is the real writing. One quick and easy part of my rewriting strategy is to just put the poem away. After drafting it, I let it sit over in the corner for a while, stand against the wall. Give it some alone time. And, when I come back to it, to revise and rewrite, after one hour, one day--in some cases one year--that baby is ready to dance naked on the floor. And that's when the party gets started.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>--Kwame Alexander, author of &quot;Crush,&quot; Founder of &quot;Book-in-a-Day.&quot; </li></ul>
  19. 25. Kelly R. Fineman, Poet <ul><li>To revise rhyming poetry… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read it to yourself. Do the words make sense & tell a story you can follow? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read it aloud. See if you fall into a rhythm (you should). See if you trip anywhere (you shouldn’t). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the math. Count up syllables and see if there are the right number of stressed syllables in each line. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  20. 26. Judith Mammay <ul><li>Check for unnecessary words, like “that” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I believed that she was telling the truth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I believed she was telling the truth. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check for -ing words. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I was walking to the store. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I walked to the store. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 27. How a Writers’ Critique Group Works… Yahoo Groups
  22. 31. Student Critique Partners <ul><li>Trade papers with a partner </li></ul><ul><li>Use highlighters to indicate the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pink = Consider cutting this part. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green = I’m confused now. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Orange = Use more vivid details/precise language. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yellow = This part works really well! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In the margin next to each color (or on a Post-It note), write a note explaining your highlighting and making suggestions. </li></ul>
  23. 32. Joni Sensel <ul><li>Highlight drafts with different colors to show narrative, action, dialogue, and description. Then see if there’s a balance, and go back to add any colors that are missing. </li></ul><ul><li>Writing should be “a tasty sandwich, not just bread, not just baloney, but a good combination of bread, meat, mustard or mayonaisse, lettuce, tomato, etc.” </li></ul>
  24. 33. Jennifer J. Stewart <ul><li>Take a scene and rewrite it in an alternate point of view. Switch from first person to third or change narrators. </li></ul><ul><li>“ For example, writing in the villain’s voice can make motivation clear. Then you can switch back, if you need to, but you have learned something important. </li></ul>
  25. 34. Revision: Walk the Walk <ul><li>Write with your kids. </li></ul><ul><li>Write for yourself. </li></ul><ul><li>Revise. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell your revision stories. </li></ul><ul><li>Model revision in front of your students. </li></ul>
  26. 35. Walking the Walk: How Teacher-Writers Can Encourage Student Revision Kate Messner, Children’s Author & NBCT New York State English Council October 23, 2008