Good morning & happy Monday! First, let’s announce the winner of OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN from last week…and that’s Carol Osler! Please email me (kmessner at kate messner dot com) and I’ll forward your name and address to Donna Gephart so she can send out your book. On to Mini-Lesson Monday now…
Next week, we’re going to spend some time talking about revision…how to do it, why you need to do it, and how it can be not only less painful but kind of awesome. On Sunday, I’ll be sharing a post offering some of my favorite revision strategies and inviting authors of all different genres to stop by and share a favorite revision strategy. (Bookmark that post to use in your classroom later on!) Those of you who have read REAL REVISION can ask any questions you had while reading, and really, it’ll be kind of a revision free-for-all.
Today, we have a special guest author who is…okay…not only a guest author but a friend and one of my favorite people in the world. Linda Urban is the author of acclaimed middle grade novels A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT and HOUND DOG TRUE as well as MOUSE WAS MAD, a picture book about finding the “right” way to be angry. Her website is http://lindaurbanbooks.com.
Today, Linda’s joining us to talk about one of her favorite revision strategies that involves returning to the brainstorming phase of the writing process to foster deeper thinking and connection building.
I like certain objects to have a different meaning for different characters in a book. Sometimes I start a web with that object in the center – Popsicles, for example – and then web from there the places that Popsicles occur in the story, the people who eat them or talk about or buy them, and then all the different associations that those people and places have in relation to the Popsicles. Sometimes what I find surprises me. Sometimes it gives me details that I can use in my revision. For one character, I might find that sharing a Popsicle turns out to be a supreme symbol of friendship. For another, it’s just a sticky mess on her fingers.
Note: This activity & photo originally appeared in Real Revision, courtesy of Linda.
Assignment: Think of an object from your work-in-progress. (If you don’t have a work-in-progress, try this with a book that you love as a reader.) Choose an object that might mean different things to different characters in the story, and put it in the middle of an idea web. Then brainstorm all the places that object appears in the story (or all the places it might be added!) and what it could mean in different settings, to different characters. Feel free to post a comment about what you discovered through this activity when you’re done.