Monday, May 21, 2007

More Wisdom from the Conference Notes...

Last installment of wisdom from Nancy Mercado: Questions to ask yourself as you work through your revisions.

13. Has what you've been saying been said a million times before?

14. Do your kid characters do real "kid" things? Do they talk like real kids? Think like kids? Act like kids?

15. Do you spend too much time flexing your "author" muscles? (overwriting)

16. Does your opening chapter make sense and come full circle when you've finished the book?

17. Have you left room for your reader? (or have you killed their curiosity by telling them everything already?)

The last few pieces of advice our Yogi gave us (and yes, she did lead a yoga session on the retreat):

1. Have somebody reading your work--critique partners, trusted writer friends, etc. Take the heart of their comments, not necessarily the specifics.

2. Consider whether you need a major overhaul or a minor revision and then begin.

3. Read your work ALOUD. (I do this all the time)

When it comes to cutting things out of your manuscript, consider its purpose. Is it doing its job for the “team” (the story as a whole)? If it moves you or makes you laugh, try to find a way to keep it. But if it just doesn’t work for your current story, cut it and file it for another story.

I hope these tidbits are helpful. I know I'm keeping them close at hand as I tromp through my latest WIP--so close to finished!


  1. I don't have any author muscles to flex, so I think I'm good there.

    Thanks for all the notes. Very helpful.

    I haven't read my book aloud yet, but that's something I'm looking forward to doing when I'm finished these revisions.

  2. I actually read aloud as I write. Especially when I sit down to start another session, I will go back to what I wrote last and read through it aloud to lead myself into the next bit. It really helps.

  3. I think that would probably push me over the top. I already talk to myself non-stop when I'm writing. Reading aloud on a regular basis would leave me parched and mute.


  4. Mary Ann,

    When you have time, can you please e-mail me at


  5. Lots of great writing advice there. I often read my work aloud because I think writing is often about developing a good ear. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Thanks for the notes! Very helpful indeed.



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