Teachers Write! Revision Chat

I want to start this post with a confession. I am not a great writer. In fact, I am frequently a pretty awful writer who pens first drafts full of clunky prose and tired language. Sometimes I turn a Monday into a Wednesday in the middle of a chapter (this, in a book that is not supposed to include magic), and sometimes my characters don’t know their own names, much less their motivations.

So how have I managed to get a bunch of books published and even convince people that some of them should win awards?

I am a really passionate, enthusiastic reviser. When I do school visits, I always tell kids that revision is my favorite part of the writing process because that’s when I actually feel like I’m GOOD at this writing thing. When I’m drafting? Not so much.  But once that draft is down, I always feel ready to roll up my sleeves and make something of the mess. That process, for me, is full of wonder and discovery and hope. So I’m a big believer in the magic of revision, and I wanted to set aside a #TeachersWrite day to celebrate it.

Author friends:  We’d love to hear from you.  If you have a favorite revision strategy, or advice on the revision process, or a post about revision that you’d like to share, please leave a comment and join the conversation.

Teacher & Librarian friends:  I know that some of you have read my book for writers & teachers of writers, REAL REVISION: AUTHORS’ STRATEGIES TO SHARE WITH STUDENT WRITERS, and I’m more than happy to answer questions about that in the comments today. And whether you’ve read it or not, please fire away with any other questions you’d like answered when it comes to revision.  And please feel free to share your revision experiences from this summer, too.

Here some revision resources you may find helpful for your teaching and writing:

Revision Gallery – A Collection of Marked Up Manuscripts

What Revision Looks Like – A Pinterest Board

REAL REVISION home page with links to Kate’s two videos on revision

65 Off-Draft Writing Prompts to Kick-Start the Revision Process

REAL REVISION Interview with Lauren Oliver

REAL REVISION Interview with Lisa Schroeder

REAL REVISION Interview with Jo Knowles

REAL REVISION Interview with Linda Urban

REAL REVISION Interview with Laurel Snyder

REAL REVISION Interview with Karen Day

Comments are open – let’s talk revision!   And on Wednesday night (8/15), we’ll also talk revision on Twitter with a chat from 9-10pm EST, using the hashtag #RealRevision.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted August 15, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Here’s my tip for revision. After I do several passes for content, story arc and other big stuff, I go through and look for words that I overuse. Words like “that” and “just” and “I know that” along with certain gestures – my characters do a lot of head shaking and cocking. I use Word’s Find (ctrl+F) to pinpoint every instance of these words and if they are needed, I leave them in, otherwise delete, delete, delete. It makes for a much stronger and tighter manuscript in the end.
    I’m looking forward to seeing other tips here, since I can always use help in the revision department. Thanks for the resources, Kate!

    • Posted August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Joanne – I knew we were kindred spirits. “Just” is at the top of my personal “most wanted” list when it comes to revision. My characters and your characters should hang out some time, too – yours can shake their heads and mine can sigh. Thanks for sharing here and all through Teachers Write!

  2. Posted August 15, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Kate, I want to thank you again for the most incredible writing summer that was Teachers Write. Experience is the best teacher. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact with Real Authors while doing some Real Writing and Real Revision myself. Your book captures that adventure, and I am so excited to share it with my students and fellow colleagues. (On my recommendation, my principal has purchased multiple copies for our faculty. Yay!)
    One of my favorite quotes:
    “Revision involves rethinking not what a piece of writing is, but what it might become.” (pg. 3)
    Our students have much more potential as writers than our current standards can measure on a test. Real Revision invites us into the company of mentor authors, allowing us to share their writing and revision experiences with our students. Imagine what they may become when they are given the opportunity to participate in the writing world. They just might become real authors themselves!
    I am excited for our chat tonight to discuss all of the ways we will share our summer writing adventure at school and apply (the fantastic) Real Revision to our writing instruction. 🙂
    Kristin

    • Posted August 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words, Kristin – and do let me know if you’d like to schedule a Skype Q and A session with your department after they’ve read. See you for our Twitter-chat later on!

      • Posted August 16, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Wow, a Q and A with you would be fantastic! Thanks again for a great chat last night, and a wonderful summer of writing. I’ll let my administration know of your offer, and we can work out the details. What would be the best way to contact you?

  3. Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to sort through all of this. I need another month of this summer-it’s just never long enough to do everything and I didn’t read 1/2 of my summer read pile! Your book has come out several times, but I still haven’t read it cover to cover. Are you only answering questions to this link today? If not, I’ll be posting later after I have a chance to formulate my thinking into a “smart” question! Thanks for this and everything. I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

    • Posted August 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Oh no…we’re talking revision in general, too. If you have questions, by all means, fire away!

  4. Posted August 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I saw Gae’s post on Facebook and really wanted to hear about how others do revisions. I will try and make twitter chat if I can. I just wanted to add that I use find and replace in Word for ly words. I tend to over use them. The manuscript I’m working on now, I’m stuck on, too. I have no idea why, but it happens. Words just stick in my brain then I have to go through the entire manuscript using the search and replace option in Word. I’d also like to say thanks for all the hard work you guys do. Teachers are awesome and authors that help teachers are the best.

  5. Georgia Parker
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I highly recommend Kate’s book! I bought it this summer and have already begun using some of the techniques with my students and in my own writing process. It is a valuable resource. My principal suggested I turn in the receipt and put Real Revision on our Professional Development shelf. I quickly said, “No way!” Instead I had our librarian order it. I am keeping my copy! Thanks for a wonderful book Kate!

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