Week 8: Revising (part 1 of 3): Story-level

“I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” –Vladimir Nabokov

Summary

  • This is week 1 of 3 revision weeks. Publishing submissions are due after Week 10’s workshop.
  • Fellows, give yourself extra time for commenting during revision weeks. 
  • Type each student’s chosen pieces and insert your comments/prompting questions, leaving space for them to fill in the gaps and elaborate.
  • The key to revision is specific, measurable tasks from fellow to author.
  • Each author will have room to publish roughly 1000 words.
  • Remember, Deep writing is original, vivid, and fearless.

Today’s goal

  • Revise at the story/piece level by reorganizing, cutting, adding, and/or changing something about the entire piece.

Target exercise ideas

  • Clarify the role of writer (youth) and editor (writing fellow). What are the rights and responsibilities of each person? Decide together and put this into practice for all revision weeks.

  • Discuss what publication means. Why publish? Clarify that published = public, and writers have a say in the process. What’s powerful about publishing under your own name? Under a pseudonym? Deep writing is courageous. What does it mean to be a brave writer? List different ways of being fearless as a writer.

Reading ideas

  • A story organized two ways. A poem with two different kinds of line breaks or written backwards.
  • Here are some great Deep examples:
  • Bring in an incomplete piece of your own writing (but don’t reveal you’re the author until the end of the exercise.) Ask the kids to read and make revision suggestions. If this were your piece, what would you change? Why? Then thank them for their feedback. This shows you’re willing to take the same risk you’re asking your kids to take.

Writing prompt ideas

  • This week, each author is responding to specific, measurable individual revision feedback from writing fellows.
  • Strategy: Split your group in half and work with the same authors for all three revision weeks to ensure consistent feedback.

  • Consider these questions if you’re stuck during feedback:
    • Should/could we get to the tension sooner?
    • Is there too much exposition?
    • Do we need to add in some dialogue?
    • Is there a scene missing that we could develop more?
    • Do we need one more stanza?
    • Should we have more line breaks?
    • Should the last line of our paragraph stand alone?
    • Does the first line of each paragraph draw us in?
    • Are our ideas organized? Do we have strong transitions and a focused closure?
    • Are some parts distracting? Confusing? Boring? Should we omit them or add to them?
    • What happens if we change the point of view?

 

Sharing/performance

  • Weeks 8-10 are about intention and clarity. Our goal is for students to use performance to bring to life the story they’re hoping to tell in the most powerful way they can tell it. As Deep authors read, guide them on projection and make sure they are reading with confidence.
  • Say What? In pairs, authors read their pieces aloud to see how they they sound. Annotate any areas that get tricky or cause stumbles, then investigate if changes need to be made.
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Week 9: Revising: Sentence/Line-level (Part 2 of 3)

“People write or speak sentences in order to produce an effect, and the success of a sentence is measured by the degree to which the desired effect has been achieved.”–Stanley Fish

Summary

  • This is week 2 of 3 revision weeks where we examine our pieces at sentence-level. Publishing submissions are due after Week 10’s workshop.
  • Remember to give yourself extra time to type substantial revision commenting this week.
  • The key to revision is specific, measurable tasks from fellow to author.
  • This week we’ll also begin writing our author bios for publication.
  • Remember, Deep writing is original, vivid, and fearless.

Today’s goal

  • Evaluate sentences/lines to make sure they’re serving a purpose, moving the piece forward, not just taking up space.
  • Vary the length of sentences/lines to add interest. Consistent, frequent, and varied use of simple, compound, and complex sentences?
  • Check for verb tense shifts, other mechanics.

Target exercise ideas

  • This week is heavily writing-focused. Keep your target exercise brief so kids have time to revise.
  • Shake it up. Revision weeks can be intense with lots of sitting and scribbling on the page. Start the day with/break up the process with stretching, a little yoga, deep breaths, a lap around the room, shaking out hands and feet, etc. Anything to get some blood circulating and brain juices flowing.
  • Take a break. Similarly, if you see your group is getting anxious or losing focus, get them up and moving together for a minute, then settle back into the groove.

Reading ideas

Writing prompt ideas

  • This week, each author is responding to specific, measurable individual revision feedback from writing fellows.
  • Strategy: Set a timer for writers who struggle to stay focused. Have them complete sections of their revision  in short bursts, then switch seats or take a doodle break or walk a mind-clearing lap around the room.

  • Consider these questions to guide your written feedback this week:
    • Does every sentence/line serve a purpose, move the piece forward?
    • Do we like the pacing?
    • Are sentence types varied: simple, compound, and complex?
    • Do we have parallelism where we should?
    • Do we have subject-verb agreement? Tense shifts?
    • Do we have any boring, overused words? Phrases?
    • Do we have too many articles or prepositions?
    • Is there is anything in all caps? How can we add emphasis without doing this? Do we need to add italics?
  • If anyone finishes early or needs a revision break, they can begin crafting their author bio:
    • Write your own author bio. This is your chance to speak directly to your audience as yourself. What do you want your readers to know about you? Stay away from bland stuff, and give your readers some personality! Give a strange fact about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know. Why do you write? What do you hope people gain from your work? It’s okay to get silly or be serious—your pick.

Sharing/performance ideas

  • Do You Feel Me?: As young authors share their pieces, get at least two students to explain the emotions they felt using specific moments in the text. Ask the author if that was their intention, and allow peers to suggest ways to make sure people “feel” where they’re coming from. Bring in a piece of your own to model.

 

Week 10: Publishing Submission: Final Revision and Author Bios (Part 3 of 3)

PUBLISHING SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE THIS WEEK!

Summary

  • This week is for last-minute edits, checking our titles, and finishing author bios.
  • Remember, Deep writing is original, vivid, and fearless
  • Strategy: Hold mini-conferences with those who need it most. Set up an “office” and talk with writers one-on-one. Need a third writing fellow to get your group across the finish line? Contact Deep staff!
  • Publishing submissions are due this week after your workshop! Submit here.
  • Review the formatting and style guidelines. Items to note especially:
    • 1. Write a brief introduction for your workshop with your co-Fellow. Include your personal by-line. (Sample by-lines can be found in the style guide.)
    • 2. Only one Writing Fellow should submit for your workshop. Decide which of you will collect and upload the final submission to this site. This streamlines the publishing process.
    • 3. Submit one Word document for each author.Kids have missed out on publication in the past because their Fellows failed to double-check this!In this case, do not assume that your co-Fellow has it covered.
    • 4. Spell author names correctly. Kids have been published under the wrong names because their Fellows failed to double-check spelling against the students’ own folders.
    • 5. Format your Word documents to Deep standards.This saves countless hours of correction time for the publishing staff. Check against the formatting guide found on the blog.

Today’s goal(s)

  • Final revision: using vivid words and creative titles.
    • Replace boring, overused words with adjectives that are vibrant and alive.
    • Replace clichés with figurative language that’s new, never been heard before.
    • Write titles for your pieces that make your reader curious and grab their attention, don’t give it all away from the get-go.
  • Write your author bio.

Reading ideas

Writing prompt ideas

  • Individual last-chance revision feedback and notes for each Deep author.
  • A: Brainstorm three surprising titles for each of your to-be-published pieces. What’s the piece really about? How can you hint at it with the title? Is there a line or phrase that is powerful enough to become the title?
  • B: Write your own author bio. This is your chance to speak directly to your audience as yourself. What do you want your readers to know about you? Stay away from bland stuff, and give your readers some personality! Give a strange fact about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know. Why do you write? What do you hope people gain from your work? It’s okay to get silly or be serious—your pick.

Sharing/performance ideas

  • You’ve Got Me Feeling Emotions: Encourage young authors to channel the intention and emotions behind a piece by reading it in the most exaggerated emotion possible. If they are angry, ask them to shout; if they are sad, ask them to read it as if they were crying. Model so youth really step up to the plate.