ReviMo Day 2 - Interview with Miranda Paul

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome to day 2! Today we have Miranda Paul with us. Welcome Miranda!



Can you tell us about yourself and your picture book writing journey?

Those are two very different questions. Although I’ve always been a writer (how does one shut this “thing” off?), I’m also a number of other things—mother, traveler, scrabble player,
adventure-lover . . . the list goes on.

My picture book writing journey began, I suppose, when I took my first writing course for children at St. Mary’s College of Maryland with National Book Award winner and children’s book author Lucille Clifton. I wrote a few very bad picture books, and I knew they were bad. But Lucille planted a seed in my head about how transformative literature for children could be if I really believed in what I was writing. Later that year I flew off to West Africa and all kinds of other seeds began to take soil; I didn’t try writing children’s books again for nearly seven years. I had some years where I wasn’t writing much for myself at all, and had to make it a New Year’s Resolution to start again. I did a lot of teaching, freelancing for newspapers and magazines, and writing and editing for digital app companies. When I did come back to writing picture books, one of the stories I wrote was about a group of amazing women in The Gambia. That book is coming out in 2015 from Millbrook Press (Lerner Publishing). My second book is called Water is Water, and will be published by Neal Porter at Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan).

And I just learned that I've sold my third book which will be out in 2016. CONGRATULATIONS Miranda!!!!



What is your revision process on your picture book manuscripts?

Wow. Another toughie. Revision looks differently for every manuscript. I’ll talk about Water is Water a bit because that’s a rhyming manuscript. Rhyming manuscripts seem to be the ones I revise most.

When I drafted Water, I had four different versions of the story—but couldn’t decide on how to get the structure just right. After storyboarding, I chose the strongest sequence to continue working with. The strongest version wasn’t my first idea or even the one I thought was the cutest or that I “liked” most. Strongest meant it considered my young audience, offered more illustration possibilities, and stood out against other titles I was aware of.

Whatever I’m writing, I usually draft multiple versions or “alternate paths”. That way, when I submit it to my critique group or agent, I have some tools in case it’s not the “big hit” I hope it will be. Recently, an editor loved a manuscript I wrote, but didn’t think I had chosen the strongest ending. Because of my revision process, I had three alternate endings ready, and sent them off.

Perhaps the part of my revision process that is most significant happens during the writing process: I imagine the book is already under contract OR that the book will never be published. Either way, the pressure is off. I have to admit, I didn’t always write this way in the beginning, but I’m finding it immensely helpful for my creativity now.

I suppose the other piece of advice I can give is not to love individual words, phrases, or sentences so dearly. Learning to let go (of entire manuscripts sometimes!) is really important. Not everything I write is going to get published. I’m not suggesting that giving up is what writers should do, but spending years on a project that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere can be taxing. If I’m struggling, I let a troublesome manuscript “simmer” while I work on another project. Time away from a story can be very eye-opening for the revision process.

Can you tell us how RYS (Rate Your Story) can help writer's revision process?

I began Rate Your Story before I entered the dreaded arena of “submissions.” I had a critique group, but most of us were unpublished at the time. I wanted a place I could practice submitting my work, get an outside opinion from someone who would be honest, and that that somebody was publishing work in today’s market. Before I blew my chances with agents or editors, I wanted to know if my work was even ready to be sent out. I didn’t find a free site out there like that, so I created one.

While I think critique groups are vitally important for writers, Rate Your Story offers a very attractive one-way service. Writers who use our site don’t have to commit to the tedious “manuscript exchange”. Most critique groups have 5+ people, which a writer has to read and review four or five other stories before getting feedback on a single manuscript. People who write across genres often join two or three critique groups to meet their needs, which can add even more work to a writer’s plate! Rate Your Story has judges whose writing spans the range from board books to adult, including picture books, novels, rhyming stories, and even nonfiction. Though we can’t always guarantee it, we do our best to match each manuscript with a judge who writes, edits, or reads that genre.

Rate Your Story also offers eNewsletters with different perks depending on membership level. Some of the PRO offerings include links to outside contests, calls for submissions, agent/editor interviews, writing tips, and discount offers on professional line-edits. RYS members attending the WOW Nonfiction retreat in July 2014 also get a free critique from a faculty member.

We’ve helped more than 500 writers with thousands of manuscripts since we opened in 2010. It’s exciting when we get an email from a user who has landed a contract, gotten representation, or published a story. That is the thrilling part that makes up for all of the hours we pour into the site and our service.

You do professional critiques and editing. What would you say is the most common problem with people's manuscripts?

I mostly edit picture books, so I’ll comment on those. Overwriting is something I see often. Using the passive voice is another, because it really can hurt a book’s chances at standing out. A book has to stand out—from ideas to the execution and even the characters (think beyond farm and forest animals, for starters!). Always read your book aloud.

Can you tell us a bit about your Grammar Groove course?

I’m an English teacher. I spot all of those misplaced apostrophes and may or not have corrected people in public regarding the “I/me” grammar rule... So, when Picture Book Academy Director Mira Reisberg asked me to create the course, it was a yes.

From what I see on Twitter and beyond, editors are mostly English majors who clutch their style guides like bibles. They read a lot. They love language so much, they tend to know and respect the rules of writing well. If your manuscript is up against thousands of others, it behooves you to make it as perfect as you can.

I’ve met a lot of creative people in my lifetime, and I know that grammar and punctuation (the nitty gritty details) aren’t a strong suit of many who are “big idea” people. But it is important in today’s competitive market that your manuscript crosses an editor’s desk in professional shape. The Grammar Groove course covers everything from syntax to where to put commas to what a style guide is and even how to format your submission before snail mailing or emailing it to an editor or agent.

Did I mention that I sing in the course? There’s a music video, which is hidden from the public and will ONLY ever be seen by those who sign up for the Picture Book Academy’s Get Your Grammar Groove. Isn’t that reason enough to register? :)

I know I'm intrigued. :D Thank you very much Miranda!







 
Miranda Paul is a fierce reviser and the author of One Plastic Bag (Millbrook, 2015) and Water is Water (Neal Porter Books, 2015). In addition to being an instructor for the Picture Book Academy's Grammar Groove course, she is the founder and administrator of RateYourStory.org, an online service dedicated to helping writers revise and polish their manuscripts for submission. Miranda has a background in newspapers, magazines, and producing digital content for clients. Read more online at: www.MirandaPaul.com.


http://www.picturebookacademy.com/get-your-grammar-groove.html

Mira Reisberg of the Children's Book Academy and Miranda have graciously donated:
*The Picture Book Academy's Grammar Groove Course with Miranda Paul

 Miranda has generously donated:
*A Basic Rate Your Story Year Membership for 2014
*A critique from Miranda Paul (PB or first two chapters [up to 15 pages] of MG or YA)
*Critique of a query letter from Miranda Paul

 To enter giveaway:

  1. Scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post.
  2. Under the prize listings, click on the “Revised PB MS Today & Commented on Today's Post” button. If you have revised a PB manuscript and commented on today's post, click ENTER and you're entered! Remember you are on the honor system! 
Each day you revise and comment (Jan. 12-18th) you can enter for chances to win. The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter January 19th. There will be a final giveaway January 19th for those of you who revise 5+ days! Good luck everyone!

128 comments :

Cecilia Clark said...

Thank You Miranda Paul your for Rate Your Story and your interesting interview responses. I especially like that you correct(or not) people's grammar in public. I once edited a love letter (oops) and that did not turn out so well. I really hope to find a critique group in the not too distant future and your emphasis on the importance to a writer has spurred me on to find one sooner rather than later.

Nicole Snitselaar said...

Thanks Miranda and congratulations !
I believe we have one of the most exciting job ! :)
I have always been very poor with grammar ! In french perhaps even more !

Nicole Snitselaar said...

As I am a day late with my entries I wanted to catch up and enter the rafflecopter but it won't accept a second clik... Will I end up always having one missing ???

Catherine said...

It is lovely to see the face behind Rate Your Story. This morning I have been revising my manuscript using comments from my Rate Your Story critique which I received yesterday. I've cut two characters and the story already seems stronger. Thank you Miranda and Rate Your Story :)

Ramona said...

Love Miranda's advice and her critique service at Rate Your Story. Congratu;ations on your recent success!

Rena Traxel Boudreau said...

2 down and 5 more to go. Congrats Miranda.

Tracey Jackson said...

Thank you, Miranda! I like the idea of revising with alternate paths and endings. I'll try it.

Lori Mozdzierz said...

Congrats, Miranda on your upcoming book releases!
I like your readiness idea with multiple versions/endings of a manuscript.


RYS is a wonderful service!

Marcie F Atkins said...

I pulled out a picture book where I've been struggling with the ending. I tried out a couple of endings. I *think* I have one that is much better. Thanks, Miranda!

Shannon Baunach Anderson said...

I am still on my kick from yesterday and cutting words. I also tried to replace some areas where I used passive verbs. Great post and great prizes. I wish the memberships for Rate Your Story weren't full. I am going to try to get in on an open submission day. It is a great service. I used it once before.

Linda Schueler said...

I like your idea, Miranda, of having multiple versions of one manuscript. I am starting to think that way too. Sometimes it is so hard to know what version is the best. And congratulations on your books.

Marcie Colleen said...

When I grow up I want to be Miranda Paul. But I think I'm older that she is...so not sure how that will work. Thanks for a wonderful post and a reminder to beat that passive voice back with a stick!

shiela f said...

I have no problem with letting go of words and love to revise, but how DO YOU KNOW when you are complete. I think only an agent or editor could answer that question since they are the people who will make the final decision.

Debra Shumaker said...

The passive voice is often my downfall. Working on that. Thanks for the great post!

Joanne Roberts said...

Thanks, Meg and Miranda. I often have multiple versions of my story. My critique groups have never given me a satisfactory answer on what to do about it. Thank-you for both the advice and the knowledge that I am not alone.

Rachel Stones said...

I write "alternate paths" too. Glad I'm not the only one. :)

Lisa Connors said...

The idea about being able to let go when revising is one I can usually do, but I am intrigued by the idea of multiple versions or at least endings. I am going to try that! Thanks!

Kirsti Call said...

I have multiple versions of some of my manuscripts when I'm not sure which one is the best way to take the story. Congrats, Miranda on the forthcoming PB's! Thanks Meg for creating this forum for making me revise my manuscripts! They really need it and I just needed that extra push to get myself there!

Sue Poduska said...

Thanks, Miranda. Went back and started a new version. Mighty glad I did too. Don't want to lose anything that might come in handy later.

Alayne Kay Christian said...

Thanks for sharing Miranda. I am intrigued by your multiple versions/ alternative paths method. My brain cogs are turning.

Cathy Mealey said...

Was it Miranda's innate brilliance or simply serendipity that many of us received our latest RYS submission feedback just as ReviMo was beginning? ;-) In either case, I am so grateful! RYS is a tremendous service to the writing community.
P.S. I'm smitten with anyone who uses "behooves" in a blog post. Such a marvelous word! Off to revise...

Katie Gast said...

Loved the idea of alternate endings. I am going to give it a try.

Wendy Greenley said...

I enjoyed getting to learn more about you, Miranda, and your writing methods. Now I've got to go wrestle a ms or two--maybe the alternate ending method will help me be able to click the rafflecopter later today!

Robin Shephard Howard said...

Wow! As I was reading your suggestion of having several different endings, another ending just popped into my head. Off to revise! Thank you, Miranda.

Mette Engell said...

Perfect inspiration for the today's task, I can't believe I'm finally moving on with my 5yo manuscript.

Jennifer Kirkeby said...

There is so much helpful information in this blog, I don't know where to start! Learning to let go, and having different versions of a story stood out to me. I also just signed up for RYS and am looking forward to a productive 2014. Thanks, Miranda!

Jen Swanson said...

Great stuff, here Miranda! I especially need to learn to embrace the "let go" feature. I have several ms' s that will probably never see the light of day, but I just can't seem to let them die. Well no more. Working on a new ms today with all new ideas. Yay!

Suzy Levinson said...

very informative!

saputnam said...

Thanks for sharing your writing process, Miranda. I also write multiple versions of my stories. One of my MGs has three different endings… I know that the one that I like best (the first version) will not go over in the children’s market as it is open ended and leaves the outcome up to the individual reader. Did the MC stay or did he continue on his journey?

Day 2 – Still in " Revision Mode" and have revised 3 manuscripts… one from last year’s PiBoIdMo , and 2 older nonfiction craft manuscripts

Cheryl Secomb said...

What a great post! Rate Your story sounds like a wonderful resource. Congratulations on your newest book Miranda. Thank you, Miranda and Meg!

Melanie Ellsworth said...

Thanks, Miranda, for your many great tips. I especially like your idea
to imagine your book already under contract, which lets your creativity
soar more freely. Congratulations on your upcoming books, and thanks for founding RYS - I've used it often!

Krista Mcmorran-Maus said...

Thank you, Miranda, for sharing. I signed up for RYS in December and am excited to be a member.

Sherry Wagner Hudson said...

Great information, Miranda. It is a fact that picture books have evolved from cute animals to just about any topic children can understand and deal with (even if they don't realize the problem). Love the word "storyboarding" and revision comments. Your RYS sounds very interesting and I need to check it out too as I write in three age groups. Thank you!

Cindy Williams Schrauben said...

Thanks for the post, Miranda. Letting go is so difficult, your suggestions are helpful. While I always save revisions I rarely go back to an old one. I need try creating different, COMPLETE versions and embracing each of them. :)

Danielle Dufayet said...

Thank you, Miranda, for your tips and for Rate Your Story. I love being a pro member. It's worth every penny and more!!

Deborah Hockenberry said...

Thanks for a great post, Miranda. I love the idea of RY. I'm on the fourth revision of my MG story right now. Maybe I'll apply some of your ideas to revising it!

Joanne Sher said...

I got my very first RYS feedback returned yesterday, and it was incredibly helpful! I will definitely be taking advantage of the service again. Loved this post! Wrote an alternate ending for the Pb I chopped yesterday. Learning so very much! Thanks, Amanda and Shannon!

Sophia Mallonée said...

Great post! Thanks for the helpful tips and inspiration, Miranda!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Love the idea of different versions. Do you have a specific way to storyboard a story? I always fell like I'm doing it wrong or can make it fit (if that makes sense).

Michele Norman said...

To invite, welcome and embrace alternate possibilities for every story is terrific advice. Thank you!

Jackie Wellington said...

Thanks for posting :D I often feel like the cards are stacked against me as a children's writer since I do not know how to rhyme. I love rhyming, but I am not good at it. I had to embrace my weakness as well as my strength. With that being said, having a degree in English, I am so grammatically correct; it's easy for me to pick up on grammatical errors. The biggest one I see a lot is the use of "everyone, all, and everybody." When I use these as my subject and "his" as my pronoun antecedent, my critique buddies are always changing his to their. I don't know if it is an American thing or what. But I find myself saying over and over, "You treat it as a third person singular." Maybe that should be my next PB idea. Who knows? Great post! :D

Carrie Finison said...

Miranda, thank you so much for all you do in support of other writers. I've gotten a lot of help from RYS (not to mention a fantastic critique from you!) You have such a wealth of knowledge to share. I loved your comment about developing multiple paths for a picture book story.

Sheri McCrimmon said...

Thanks Miranda - It is hard to 'let go', but I love the idea of having different versions, especially alternative endings. I see how that could be SO very helpful. I hope to pull out a couple of my stories and try it.

Pam Brunskill said...

Congrats on the third book under contract, Miranda! Love Rate Your Story. Thanks for sharing your process.

janelle said...

Great post! Thanks for starting Rate Your Story!

Marcy Pusey said...

Miranda, this was so great! I see your name quite a bit, as we are in many of the same writer circles online... but it was great to get more of who you are as a writer and as a person... AND some of the story behind RYS! I'm glad to be part of that crew this year and love your vision for it. You are one impressive woman! And congrats on your newest sell! :)

Milka P said...

What a great way to take the pressure off: imagining the book is under contract or will never be published. I think so many of us give ourselves so much pressure, it can hinder our objective writing process.

Monica Lauscher said...

Miranda, thanks for sharing with us! I love the suggestion about having multiple endings. I'm feeling motivated again after a rather sluggish return following the holidays.

Vivian Kirkfield said...

Thanks so much, Miranda! I love your advice about planning out several versions of the same manuscript...this is something I do NOT do...my bad.:( And I think I get 'attached' to it and it is harder to 'let go' of words, phrases, etc. So I am going to try this as I write and revise now.:)

And how amazing that you studied with Lucille Clifton! My Show Me How book is actually dedicated to her (one of the books I recommend in it is her 'One of the Problems of Everett Anderson'). I had sent her an advance copy for an endorsement...and got a lovely letter back from St. Mary's College several months later - unfortunately, she had passed away during that time - but the book is in their library.:)

Heather Gale said...

Miranda, this makes so much sense - I usually end up with two different endings - always wished it was easier to 'see' the strongest - and perhaps it was always the third! Thanks for sharing a great idea with us all.

Angela Turner said...

I am diligently working on ms two for this week. I like your advice about writing different versions and different endings of the same story. One I am working on now (nonfiction) I have written in first person and in third person. One version has more interesting language while another is cut to the bare minimum. I am having trouble judging which is better. For a picture book I would think bare minimum is better. But examples of books that I read that are similar to my topic often are pretty wordy. I would think it especially depends on the target age but my topic could work for several age groups. I will keep trudging forward. I am so grateful to be learning from all the other writers in events like this and PiBoIdMo and 12X12. There is really a LOT to be learned.

Cathy C. Hall said...

That comment about story boarding made me think of a picture book dummy, which was exactly what I needed to get this second manuscript revised. THANK you, Miranda, for wonderful revision tips!

Noel Csermak said...

I love finding out that this choice of vocation is truly about developing, progressing and continually learning.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

It is always interesting to see the different paths that we all take to becoming a writer. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

Tracy Molitors said...

Thanks, Miranda! I often imagine different ways a story of mine could go, but I hadn't tried writing them all down. I love that idea!

Pat Miller said...

I was stuck on the beginning of my story, and pretending it was already contracted, I wrote four beginnings. That broke loose the ice jam. Thank you for these clever techniques!

Julie Rowan-Zoch said...

Love the idea of writing multiple 'paths' right off the bat! Definitely gonna try that! Thanks for an enormously informative post, Miranda, and to Meg for shining the spotlight!

Carol Breedlove said...

I revised by writing multiple endings to a story I am writing. Thank you for the great tip! I love RYS!!

Laura Renauld said...

I've been working on world building for a story today to help iron out some inconsistencies. Then I started another version of my story based on that. It was very helpful taking a new angle!

Jacque Duffy said...

I didn't realize that I wasn't alone as a 'Big Ideas' person and terrible Grammar User. I NEED Grammar Groove. [Did I put my full stops and capitals in the right place?]
Thank you for a great post. I also thought I wrote alternate stories because I was indecisive :/

Juliana Lee said...

Hi Miranda. 'I may or may not have corrected people in public…' Yes, I have! Okay, most of them were second graders. But if I'm not publicly correcting grammar, I'm certainly doing so silently! I just became a member of RYS and can't wait to get some professional feedback on my stories. Thanks so much for creating it!

JA macT said...

This was a terrific interview in may ways, but for me Miranda's practice of writing several different version of each story really struck a chord. I struggle sometimes with having to choose just one story line, when my head is overflowing with plots and characters. To give myself permission to write some of them out and give them equal weight to the "main" storyline sounds like the perfect solution! Thanks so much!

Tamara said...

I really like that I could find an online publishing team of sorts for help once things are more solid with my story. I will look into this! Thank you.

Priya said...

Time to try storyboarding.

Dawn Young said...

Thank you Miranda!

Michelle Lynn Senters said...

Miranda- thank you for the wealth of information. I have just started drafting several paths for one particular story and it helped me to hone in on the one that was truest to the characters. Congratulations on your success!

Kirsten Larson said...

I really challenged myself today. I took a concept book and tried to add a story arc. I'm not sure it's working yet, but it did get me unstuck. It feels to try something new.

kathyberman said...

Great interview. I didn't realize you are the founder of RYS. It provides a fantastic service to so many writers. I am going to take your advice and write another version of one of my ms. Thanks.

Darshana said...

Great interview. Thanks Miranda for all that you do in supporting the kidlit community. Now back to revisions. Cool to hear that you draft multiple versions. I should consider doing that.

Yvonne Mes said...

Ah, 'learning to let go'. I know the wisdom in this, but find it sooo difficult. You are an inspiration with all that you do Miranda!

Nancy Furstinger said...

I just came across some old picture book mss (written before I was published) and they were really wordy. It seems that less is more in today's market. Good thing learning to let go is something that I learned!

Heather Greene said...

Thanks Miranda! Rechecking my grammar now!

Hannah Holt said...

I like your alternate paths approach. Through revisions, I always seem to end up with multiple versions of my story, but it comes about more organically than through a planned approach. Some of my stories have multiple endings but not all. I should probably be more organized about it from the beginning. ;)

Kathleen Doherty said...

I am a BIG fan of Rate Your Story. I could not be more pleased with the feedback I'm receiving. And it's inspiring to read about your success, Miranda. Congratulations!

Judy Rubin said...

Rip. Tear. Shred. A much better read than it was before the revision. Thank you for sharing so many great ideas.

Kristine P said...

I don't know which I love more - the idea of RYS as an author, or the fact that you had the hutzpah to make it a reality . . . Truly inspiring!

Keila said...

Light bulb moment! I will remember your SOLID advice Miranda, forever...

Storyboard
Overwriting and passive voice caution
Learn to let go
Imagine the book is under contract
Draft alternative endings
Applied to my latest revisions...ooolala...perspective!

Lisa Rivard said...

Wow! Great info... All of it! It was a great day for me...met with critique group and was inspired. Worked on revisions this evening and read this very valuable blog! Woo-hoo!

Christine Irvin said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us!!

Barbara Kupetz said...

I got my best and favorite job a long time ago by going in to the interview saying and believing, "This is only an interview for the practice." The result was that I was calm and stress free -- there was no anxiety and I did better in that interview than any other ever since. There is something to be said about taking the pressure off and seeing your performance soar. I've never thought about it in reference to writing but I will certainly try it now! Thanks, Miranda for reminding me of this.

Julie Beturne said...

Thanks for all of your terrific ideas! I read the picture book I'm revising aloud to my 4th graders today. They had a few good ideas and comments-everything from shortening it to changing the main characters name.

mona said...

Thanks for all the ideas, Miranda. Pulled out a rhyming story...yikes! Love RYS.

Pamela Courtney said...

I've never submitted to RYS. I've been too afraid. However, this year I think I am brave enough to give RYS a go with membership. What a jewel you are to have created RYS! I always read comments on how helpful the critiques are. This was a super great post. And how generous are these gifts, huh? Well done.

Julene Kinser said...

Thanks for a great post, Miranda. I like the encouragement to make big girl/big boy decisions in regards to our writing: to not fall so in love with our own words that we can't let go of them when necessary; to make the best story version for our intended audience. Hard to do, but so necessary.

Thanks, too, for Rate Your Story--a great service!

Janie Reinart said...

Miranda, Thank you for creating RYS! Love your alternate paths idea--will have to try that!

Charlotte Dixon said...

Hi Miranda. Since I have used your RYS service, I know the benefits I derived from your excellent critique and line edit. I am so pleased to know you and I appreciate the great tips you have given here. Thank you!

erin@chickenbabies said...

Thanks so much for the advice!

Carrie Charley Brown said...

Thanks, Miranda! The hardest part for me is knowing WHEN to let go. Like most things, I learn as I go. Thanks so much for letting us peek into your process!

Shannon Abercrombie said...

I revised today

Dani Duck said...

Thanks for this post. I got a kick out of reading it. Love hearing where people came from and their processes in improving their manuscripts.

Teresa Robeson said...

Phew…I think I made it here in the nick of time! I had a long day running errands today (plus had some wonderful self-promotion to do with the book that my SF group has put out). All good stuff, just like revising. ;)


What fun to read about Miranda's journey to being an author! I knew only parts of it. I'll bet her grammar course is amazing.

Nina said...

I think I made some headway today. Thanks Miranda and Meg.

Mike Karg said...

It is hard to let go of a phrase I love when it doesn't fit. But, I don't "kill those darlings"; I put them back in the Ideas Closet like so many other shirts I seldom wear, but tell myself that one day I might.

Melanie Hill said...

I think my timing might be off due to time zone differences. I have revised after letting a MS 'simmer' for a few months. also learning to detach myself from words and stories.

Lauri Meyers said...

My mind is blown by the alternate path method of revision. Sure I may have other ideas or make bug changes along the way but I don't think I've let myself try enough possibilities. Great advice.

Lauren Kerstein said...

I revised today and I really liked your post. It was chock full of helpful information and I appreciated your permission to let go of words or phrases that might not make my manuscript as strong as it could be.

Charlotte Gunnufson said...

I'm already a Rate Your Story member and i love it. The judges have terrific insights! I actually revised a MS today using suggestions from a RYS judge.

Debbie said...

Thanks for the tips! Today I tried letting go of a certain structure I had been holding onto for a story. I think it helped.

Sandy P said...

I did an alternate version of a story today. Time-consuming, but worth it. Thanks for the inspiration!

Margaret Greanias said...

Thanks Miranda for the great advice. I like the idea of multiple versions and honestly evaluating which one will be best for the audience. Also the advice about not falling in love with individual words or phrases is invaluable -- I'm guilty of this one for sure.

deborahhwilliams said...

Hi, Miranda! Your post encouraged me to "let go" and change my character, which made the plot make more sense. Sometimes it's hard to let go of something we love, but I think it's a better story now!

Stacey said...

I love the suggestion to draft "alternate paths". Helpful to learn about Rate Your Story as well.

Damon Dean said...

Miranda, your rhyming example in your post sent me to a PiBoIdMo idea that turned into a 12x 12 2013 PB draft that had been submitted to a PB critique group and had since gone through another revision. It's still between 400-500 words, and could probably stand to lose a stanza. Tonight I reworked stanzas (it seemed as each one was competing to stay in the story)...changed rhymes...converted to stronger verbs...and paginated--by spread and page, including end papers. it's ready to be a dummy now. Hope to accomplish that tomorrow, and see what comes of it, as WELL as read (record) it aloud.
Always great advice, and your writing journey is inspiring. Thanks Miranda and fearless leader MEG!

Damon Dean said...

Like this Barbara! I need to l learn that approach. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel Smoka-Richardson said...

Thank you for a great post. I worked on a revision today and it's clear it needs storyboarding.

Laurie B. said...

I liked the idea of thinking about your work as published already and coming up with alternate paths through the book. I really struggle with revision and cling to what I have even though it doesn't always work with the revised version. The story I'm revising now I have two paths to choose: to rhyme all the way through, or to have only certain parts rhyme. I need to do two versions, I think, to really know what is going to work best.

Julie Fulton said...

I need to work with storyboards more - this post is just the motivation I needed. Thanks! Different endings are a great idea too. I'm beginning to realise I have to 'cut my darlings' in my current revision. Probably a whole verse of rhyming text. It creates a great picture too, but just doesn't move the story on. Oh well....

MegMillerWrites said...

Love it! Excellent suggestions and so interesting to hear more about your journey Miranda! :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Yay Damon! Happy revising. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

LOL! You are so welcome Stephan! :D

MegMillerWrites said...

You guys are amazing! Lots of great revisions going on out in PB world. HOORAY!!!! :D

Natalie said...

The idea to think of your draft as already published or will never be published is so liberating. Sometimes I put too much pressure on a simple draft which is never helpful. Thank you so much.

Deirdre Sheridan Englehart said...

Miranda, I am amazed at your process, especially the multiple endings and variations in your stories. I am not sure if I could do that.. I am actually working on revisions of a story you provided a critique for... I think I really need your Grammar Groove course. Thanks!

Julie Segal Walters said...

Love the idea of alternate endings! Seems like something that will keep the thinking fresh and alive, instead of locked-in and rigid. Thank you!

pennyklostermann said...

I read this post yesterday and hoped to get to revisions. I did a tad...but nothing worth claiming as a full-blown, worthy-of-entry revision.But...today (one day later), I did revise! A new ending! Along with some changes in the middle to make the new ending more satisfying. Thanks, Miranda and Meg!

Laurie J. Edwards said...

I love your idea to write as if it'll never be published. So often I'm writing for publication so sometimes I don't take the time to explore more creative ideas or write just for fun.

Ping Wan said...

Thank you Miranda for the revision tips. I really appreciate your advice of learning to let it go. I tend to overwrite and stuck with the words that became my original love. I also like the storyboarding idea to figure out the story structure. I plan to participate the Rate Your Story contest. Thank you so much again the happy new year and happy writing!

Ann Magee said...

I'm a bit of a grammar freak myself. The misuse of I and me is my ultimate pet peeve. I correct people on TV all the time. My kids even do it now! I think your first revision suggestion is especially important--after all, revision is 'seeing again', in a different way. Thanks so much! (And I look forward to meeting you at the WOW retreat this summer and learning a lot.)

Beth A said...

As an English teacher, I find that my voice and creativity come when I break some of the rules and let the language come to life. (sorry, kids) But, of course, there are standards which must remain. (sorry, kids)

Cecilia Clark said...

I like to sing when I am concentrating. luckily for everyone nearby I actually have a voice worth listening to except I get dreadful stage fright when it comes to singing in public. I think it is important to leave things alone for a while or I overdo it. Thank you for the post Miranda

Bitsy Kemper said...

Were you looking directly at me when you wrote about "learning to let go"?! Man that is a challenge. Thanks for the reminder that if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and my love for it doesn't make it any better! Unfortunately I need to be reminded of that time and time again...

moonduster said...

I have heard from so many PB writers that RYS is worth submitting to. I haven't submitted to them yet, but I will be doing so in the near future. And thanks for the revision tips. :)

Donna L Sadd said...

Great post, Miranda. I'm learning about creating alternate endings...and beginnings in a course right now. It definitely gets one to think out of the box!

Denise M. Bruce said...

oh my, learning to let go is soooooooooooooo hard! but such great advice!

Lisa Willard said...

I put aside one of my favorite and most problematic mauscripts. Not sure if I can let go yet. But revising something else this week. It feels good.

Ping Wan said...

You just spoke to my heart. Thanks!

Blanche Baxter said...

Congratulations Miranda, and thanks for your post. I feel your process and really like the idea of presenting the best ms in a variety of ways until you find the strongest version, even if it's a direction you never expected. Also, I love RYS, so thanks again!!!

Heather Brinkerhoff said...

Didn't realize my comments did not post the first time, so I'm posting them again... Basically, I wanted to say thank you for the flexible attitude and 'alternate path' idea adjustment you invoked!