Confession: I am addicted to revision.
The addition of shiny new scenes.
The rearranging of chapters.
The satisfying chopping of dead-weight paragraphs.
The lingering over words.
The liberal sticking of Post-It Notes.
What’s not to love? Revision has always been my favorite part of the writing process, and if you read this blog, you know that I talk about revision all the time.
Even so, I was taken a little off guard when I got an email a few months ago from the very friendly acquisitions editor at Stenhouse Publishers, asking if I might want to write a book for teachers.
Well…I was awfully busy with my family and my teaching job and my other books I was writing, but… Did you say it could it be a book about revision? A book about teaching kids how to revise?
It could, she said. In fact, that would be great.
Could I talk about how I revise my own books and how I use those experiences to help my students revise their work in my 7th grade classroom? And could we bring in other authors who write for middle grade readers and share their stories, too, as author mentors? And could we give teachers lots of hands-on revision activities? Stuff they can bring right into the classroom to help kids revise all different kinds of writing?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
So I said yes.
I don’t have a final title or publication date yet, but I was too excited not to share the news about this new project. I know that in some classrooms, "revision" amounts to correcting the spelling errors on a rough draft and then rewriting. I understand that’s often a product of time constraints and test pressures, but I really believe that we can do better for our young writers. I know there are lots of teachers out there who think so, too…teachers who want to help their kids revise in a more meaningful way, so they can create pieces that are detailed and vibrant, important and alive. The kind of writing they can be proud of.
I hope this book will help.
I’ll be working on it this summer, in between writing my books for kids and my usual hiking and ice-cream-eating. If you are a teacher, I hope you’ll post comments with questions, things you might like to see included in a book about teaching revision. And if you’re one of my author friends who write for middle grade readers, I’d love it if you’d consider being one of our mentor authors in the book. I’m putting together a list of interview questions about revision that I’ll pass along in an email soon.