Thursday 26 March 2015

The Ten R's of Revision by author Lee Wardlaw #ChaBooCha #LeeWardlaw

picture via Lee Wardlaw
The Ten R's of Revision

1. Revel
You’ve written an entire chapter book in one month. That’s huge.
Revel in your accomplishment. Well done!

2. Rest
Take a nap. Take two naps. You need a little R & R to Refuel and Refresh your creative juices.

3. Refrigerate
Put your manuscript on ice. It needs time to cool. Don’t look at it for at least two weeks. Three is better. Four is best. An editor will read it cold. So you need to, too.

4. Re-Read
Print out your manuscript, grab paper and pencil, settle into a comfy chair, and read. Avoid revising – instead, make notes on your characters, plot, pacing, conflict, setting, point of view, etc., that might need work.

5. Reject
Ignore the Internal Critic who uses Reproach and Ridicule to convince you this is The World’s Worst Novel, and that you might as well just give up now. (This is a rough draft. Of course it stinks! But you’re going to make it better. Trust me.)

6. Repeat #4
Re-read your manuscript again. Did you notice anything else that needs work? (Bet you did!)

7. Ransack!
At last – time to revise! Be Ruthless. Rearrange scenes, Restructure the plot, Remove or Replace characters, Raise the stakes, Re-check your facts (maybe do more Research), etc.

8. Read Aloud
Re-read your manuscript again, chapter by chapter – but this time, read it out loud. Does your story flow – or stumble?  Are you boring yourself? Time to Raise the stakes again! Do your characters sound Realistic? If not, delve deeper into their minds. Does every scene, sentence, and bit of dialogue further the plot in some way? If not, chuck it. Use Reason, not emotion. Never keep something just because it’s a beautiful piece of writing.

9. Rally
I know you’re tired. Hang in there. You’re almost finished. Just one or two (or three) more read-throughs…

10. Rejoice!
At last – the revision is finished. Celebrate – and submit! (The manuscript, that is.)

Time’s up! Get back in your chair and write another chapter book!

About the author

Lee Wardlaw swears that her first spoken word was 'kitty'. Since then, she's shared her life with 30 cats (not all at the same time!) and published 30 books for children, tweens, and teens, which have sold more than a million copies world wide. Her newest novel, 101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies (Puffin and Scholastic, ages 10-14), the third book in her popular 101 Ways to Bug...series, received the National Forward Literature Award for Humor; her picture book Won Ton - A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Holt, ages 5 and up), illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, was the recipient of 40 awards and honors, including the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award, and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. Won Ton and Chopstick - A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, a companion title to Won Ton, was released earlier this month. Lee lives in Santa Barbara with her family.  To learn more about her and her books, visit:


Today's give-away is a copy of "You Can Write Children's Books Workbook" by Tracey E. Dils. If you are a signed-up member of the challenge, all you need to do to be entered to win is to comment on this post on the blog. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator by noon on March 31st and announced on the same day.

Give-away for ChaBooCha Jr. members

If you have signed up as an under-16 member of the challenge, you can enter a give-away for a copy of  "Writing Advice for Teens" by Mike Kalmbach. Just leave a comment on this post on the blog to enter. If you are using the e-mail/account of a parent who is also a member of the challenge, please leave the name you signed up for ChaBooCha Jr. under in your comment. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator by noon on March 31st and announced on the same day. You must be signed up for ChaBooCha Jr or ChaBooCha and be under 16 to qualify.


  1. Great post, some excellent tips here. Editing is the hardest part, but so important.

  2. Thanks for sharing your Ten R's of Revision. I would CPs or Beta readers to the process.

  3. What a lovely structure for revisions. Not how I usually go about it (or at least, not entirely) but I will definitely give it a go! Thanks to Lee for writing this post and to Becky for organising it!

  4. Excellent R's, most of which I follow Religiously. :-)

  5. Excellent R's!!! It's a bible of R's! Thanks for sharing, Lee!! (Adding to KIDLIT411!) :)

  6. Excellent to bring humor to the "art" of revision.

  7. Thanks for including Revel, Rest, and Refrigerate in the list.

  8. Still working on my ms, but looking forward to using these suggestions when I am finished. Thanks, Lee!

  9. Thanks, Lee, another great post! I'm glad that I found this challenge, it has given me the "resolve" to 'rite ~ even when I'm "ruing" the "revisions" I'll have to do. :-S (Ok I'll stop now. lol!) I also agree about setting the ms aside for a while and taking a break, and also reading it out loud. Now to get back to it - this month has been 'racing' by!

  10. Great tips :) Thank you for sharing. I especially love "Refrigerate" and "Read Out Lout".

  11. You're welcome, all! Thanks for your responses. Glad to be of service. It's 90 degrees here in Santa Barbara, today, so I definitely need the "Refrigerate" tip. ;)

  12. Thanks, that's a great list. I especially like Revel. I forget to do that. I need to remember to pat myself on the back a bit!

  13. Thank you! Fantastic tips! I just gotta finish.........

  14. Math was never my thing, but I think that's more than ten R's :) I'm likin number 8 right now. Thanks!

  15. Great tips. Number 7 tickled me. :-) Thank you so much.

  16. Excellent tips! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and time with us!

  17. It's good to be reminded of how important it is to read your own manuscript multiple times! :)

  18. Love the list! Great advice :)