Write Now Workshop Six: The Finished Product–Or Is It?
How to Revise Your Story
When you think your story is done, the first thing to do is put it away. Don't look at it for at least a day." Ideally, leave it for a week or two "“ or longer! When you go back to that story, you'll see it fresh." Now, you can start to revise it!
- First, find those pesky errors in spellings or grammar: Think about other obvious mistakes (e.g., Susan was wearing green shoes when she left the house, but now that she's in the café, those shoes have turned red).
- Now go over the other things you've learned in workshops one, two, three, and four (read them if you haven't!): Does your story have a great beginning? Do your characters feel real? Do they speak the way they would in real life? Does the story build up to a climax? Is there something surprising and different about your story? Have you got a thought-provoking ending? Tweak away and reshape!
- Show it to someone you trust:" Yes, you have to be brave, but getting a second opinion can be amazingly helpful. Choose someone whose opinion you really trust, and who won't just say, "Wow! It's great!" You want their REAL thoughts--maybe a teacher, a friend, or a relative. Make sure you thank them!
- The final cut:" now, have a good think about what your reader said about your story. Ask yourself: "Do I agree with this?" Then consider whether you want to change it. Feel free to ignore suggestions"“but only if you disagree"“not just because you hate being "criticized." All writers get criticism and it isn't always kind! When you become a published writer, it's part of the job description. Even bestselling authors such as our amazing judge, Anita Diamant, have to cope with other people's opinions. (For a start, her books are reviewed by major critics in newspapers read by millions!) As a writer, you must not be afraid of criticism. Learn from it--but always trust your instincts.
- Never give up: The story you wrote may feel like a disaster. You may hate it when you read it back. It may not win the competition you wanted to win. Keep writing. Even if you ultimately abandon that particular story, try again, with another, and another. This is what writers do. Real writers aren't magical "geniuses"--they just work very, very hard to get it right!
Good luck!" We look forward to reading your submission to Teen Voices' "20 under 20" contest!
Tagged as: 20 under 20, AMPLIFY EVENT, female authors, Fiction, Lucy Atkins, self-expression, teen writing, writing process