THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL NOVELS: Revise
How to Improve Your First Draft
Congratulations! You’ve finished the first draft of a novel.
What an accomplishment! But now what?
“I didn’t realize I didn’t know anything about revising until I took Darcy’s Novel Revision Retreat. I finally “got it” that reworking a manuscript is not revising. To revise something means to re-vision it, to see it through a new lens. The workshop and the Novel Metamorphosis workbook moved me from wordsmith to novel writer.”
– Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Big Sky, winner of the 2007 Newbery Honor Book Award (the highest award given to children’s novels by the American Library Association). Kirby had been writing for nearly 20 years and had published four chapter books and a picture book before writing – and revising – Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte). This story sold in ten-days-flat to the first editor who saw it.
DIAGNOSE Your FIRST DRAFT’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Follow simple instructions to:
- Systematically inventory and diagnosis your first draft
- Visually manipulate your draft to diagnose problems and recognize strengths
- Shrunken Manuscript
- Plot with a Spreadsheet
- Box Scenes into a Plot
- Colorful Sensory Details
PLAN Your REVISION IN 8 KEY AREAS
After the first draft is diagnosed, use simple writing techniques and tips to plan specific revisions:
- Create a character that stays with your reader for years — fascinating and memorable
- Strengthen the story plot, the narrative and emotional arcs
- Sharpen dialogue
- Morph dull settings into better backdrops that set the mood
- Strengthen the pacing to keep readers interested
- Bring to life narrated events by selecting the right details
- Use language with confidence
- Add depth with narrative patterning
SUCCESS STORY: Revision Equals a Better Book
“I attended Darcy’s Novel Revision Workshop in July 2006. I revamped the entire story using the techniques Darcy taught in the workbook. The very first editor who read the revised manuscript bought the book.”
— , Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, author of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (Delacorte, 2008). Read Tubb’s success story: writing a better book
WRITING TEACHER, DARCY PATTISON
In 1999, writer and writing teacher Darcy Pattison created the Novel Revision Retreat to meet the needs of struggling novelists. Since then, her passionate teaching has touched writers nationwide as she encouraged them, “I believe in your story.” Her teaching has taken her around the nation: Hawaii, California, Washington, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and more.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Foreword by Newbery Honor novelist, Kirby Larson
- First Drafts: Why Revise?
- The Novel Inventory
- Story Plot
- Create a Character
- Choosing Details
- Writing in Scenes
- Your Revision Plan
- Recommended Reading