Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Solstice musings


Winter in Upstate NY seems dreary and gray sometimes. So it's good to get outside and walk around the block and look for the beauty in nature.

Sometimes it's a dried seed head.

Sometimes it's a patch of flowers that just kept on blooming until the last minute. Even then, their frozen, dried petals hold a certain beauty.


The GROGgers are going on a holiday break. Some of us will head outdoors with our cameras, some of us will snuggle up with a book, and some of us will be sharpening our pencils and searching for that notebook we left somewhere on/under/behind the couch...

Enjoy the holidays ~

See you in 2022!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Writers Create

 by Suzy Leopold

Writers create the just-right words and sentences on a page to tell a story.

Illustrators and artists create just-right pictures and art to enhance and support a story. 

Creating is powerful and allows writers to see themselves and reflect on their writing.

Time to create.

Gather together the following suggested supplies:

  • scrapbook paper, and/or card stock (various sizes)
  • paints--watercolor 
  • crayons or felt-tip markers
  • paper cutter or a scissors
  • glue stick; hot glue gun (optional)
  • folding tool (optional) or ruler
Additional supply ideas:
  • stickers
  • photographs 
  • magazine photos
  • discarded books
  • colored pencils
  • acrylic paints 
  • wrapping paper or construction paper
  • rubber bands
  • stapler
Accordion Book

For step-by-step folding and cutting instructions, read this post on This Little Project to make an accordion-style mini-book. All you need is one sheet of paper of any size. I created mine with an 8 1/2 X 11 piece of card stock. 

Another creative idea with one sheet of paper is shown here:

For additional ideas check this video on Red Ted Art

Mini Journal

To make a mini-journal use one sheet of scrapbook paper, 8 1/2 X 11, for the cover.  Cut the paper in half length-wise. Then cut five sheets of white paper also in half length-wise. This is for the inside pages of the journal. This equals a total of ten pages. Next fold the cover page and journal pages in half. I bound the journal together with small rubber bands. A long-arm stapler could be used. Decorate the cover. Begin writing a story and illustrating.
A StoryTelling Box

Fill a small box with various items. A small paper or cloth bag can be used instead of a box. Create and write an imaginative story as you refer to each item. Write the story in your mini-book. 

A Book Recommendation
For many more creative ideas to write, create, and tell a story, read:

Show Me a Story
40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling
Written by Emily K. Neuburger
Storely Publishing, 2012

I read. I write. I create.

Consider creating and writing a mini book, mini journal, and a storytelling box with kids. Share and read your story with students during classroom visits, (or via Zoom) readers, writers, and creators. Encourage children to share and read their creations.

These creations make great handcrafted gifts for family, friends, and writerly friends.

Hopefully, this creative approach gives you motivation and confidence to use with your writing projects.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Two Upcoming Writing Events

by Sue Heavenrich
After you've tossed the wrappings and boxes in the bin, rolled up the ribbons, and put away the red-and-green felt stockings, treat yourself to a post-holiday gift of writing. All you need is a pencil, maybe a few markers, and some paper.

12 Days of Christmas for Writers, hosted by Julie Hedlund, begins on December 26. It’s a post-Solstice event that invites writers to welcome back the light, and bring light into the areas of our writing that are dark.

“Trust the process,” Julie says as participants explore the successes, challenges, and disappointments in their writing. Each day focuses on one thing. Pull out a fresh sheet of paper and focus on Surprises, Julie says. Another day it’s Things you’ve Learned, or Things you are Grateful for. These pages create the foundation of a blueprint for our writing. My favorite day is “create a cover for your blueprint” day. One year that became a map. Another year it resembled a field guide to gardening.

What I like about the 12 Days is that it feels like a bridge between one year and the next. And rather than make a list of writing goals for the new year – my lists are always way too long – Julie encourages us to reflect without the pressure of accomplishing specific things. 

How to Connect with 12 Days of Christmas for Writers 
She announces it on the 12 x 12 picture book challenge site
Sign-up for email

Tara Lazar hosts Storystorm, which begins January 1. This event is focused on a single goal: to generate 30 picture book ideas in a month – ideas that can, over the following months, be turned into complete manuscripts. Tara started this event years ago (2009 to be exact) as Picture Book Idea Month, or PiBoIdMo. It was an alternative to NaNoWriMo for the picture book crowd. Over the years it evolved and broadened, and now novelists, short story writers, non-fiction authors and even teachers and their students join in the challenge. Storystorm is open to any writer – or anyone – who wants to brainstorm for a month.

I have used all manner of ways to collect my brainstorms, from index cards to slips of paper collected in a cookie tin to sort-of-official "idea notebooks." At the end of the month I go through my ideas and choose the ones that spark something in me, and get to work.

How to Connect with Storystorm

I know what you're thinking: these things don't happen until late this month - next year even! So why write a post about them now? Well ... some of us need advance warning so we can scribble notes on our calendars. Not to mention toss a notebook and some markers in a box and put it next to our favorite writing spot! 

Have Fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Craft Chat and Review of Cynthia Argentine's debut Night Becomes Day: Changes in Nature by Kathy Halsey

Recently, I attended a joint launch event via The Writing Barn and even won Cindy Argentine's debut NIGHT BECOMES DAY, a STEM nonfiction book.

Book launches are so instructive for writers and illustrators. Not only do we get to see authors in action, we also learn more about craft, how to create an interactive online experience, and what kind of questions audience members ask. 

I'm excited to share my review, mentor text musings, and our chat and how Cindy made the book launch special. Read on.         


Over the years, I have become a big fan of Millbrook Press' nonfiction picture books that feature STEM concepts with paired with photography and striking design. Cindy's concept picture book about changes in nature through the seasons blends science and observation in a way that will inspire readers to find wonder in their own natural environment.

The photos work with the text and typography to show and highlight how nature transforms over time: fruit becomes flower, small changes versus big changes with wind and water, how some change is fast while others take centuries.

Author Argentine uses lyrical language ("The little oak tree grows, adding leaves and limbs.") and kid-friendly examples (" will offer shade, shelter, and a perfect pace to climb or rest.") to make science of change instructive yet everyday- accessible. The ending harkens back to the beginning in a satisfying, poetic manner.

Back matter includes an Author's Note on the connectedness of living and nonliving things that invites readers to ponder ecology and our place in it. Educators will appreciate further back matter that weaves geology, botany, biology, chemistry, and physics together. Night Becomes Day will hook many audiences for a variety of reading purposes.

Craft Chat with Cindy Argentine

KH: You and debut author S. K. Wenger created such an interactive book launch through The Writing Barn. Can you explain the audience participation element for those who didn’t attend? What advice do you have for authors new to online formats: setup, venue, length of program, setting up ways to purchase books?

CA: I’m so glad you enjoyed our virtual book launch. Shaunda (S.K.) and I made it interactive to add fun and weave in fascinating facts. We each gave a 20-minute presentation using PowerPoint, coordinating in advance on our content and approach. To engage our audience, we interspersed “quiz” questions every 5-10 minutes and awarded prizes to the winners. The “quiz” questions related to topics in our books. Night Becomes Day is all about transformations that happen in nature. So, for one of my questions, I showed a photo of a blossom and asked whether it would transform into an (a) orange, (b) apple, (c) strawberry, or (d) magnolia. The answer was (b) apple—it was a photo from a tree in my backyard. The first person to type “b” in the Zoom chat won a bookstore credit or copy of my book. Other questions involved surprising facts about snowflakes and deserts (which relate to two other transformations in Night Becomes Day). Many attendees played along, which made it exciting.


For new authors looking into online events, I have these suggestions:

·  Do a “practice run” for your critique partners in advance. That will make you feel more comfortable with the technology and help you tweak any spots in the presentation that seem slow or confusing.

·  Our venue for the book launch was The Writing Barn in Texas. They were great to work with! I’ve also given webinars through Indiana SCBWI and the Montessori Family Alliance. At each venue, having a coordinator to host and provide tech support was wonderful.

·  As for length of program, I have done three 45-minute presentations with 15-minute Q&A’s afterwards. That has worked well.

·  Setting up ways to purchase books may take some work. I recommend partnering with an independent bookstore and supporting local bookshops when possible. That said, be aware that stores have different sorts of websites and online capabilities. Talk with your store manager in advance about the best way for people to shop with them or receive signed copies.

·  One more bit of advice: it’s fun to partner with another writer! I really enjoyed partnering with SK Wenger. Our nonfiction books have different subjects and styles, but Shaunda and I discovered we as authors have a lot in common. Hearing from two authors broadened the program’s content and appeal. 


KH: Like many authors, you’ve had other careers. How did you transition from being an environmental consultant to children’s author? What skill sets transferred from one career to another?

CA: Interesting question! My career transition happened in stages as my family grew. After the birth of my second child, I decided to leave corporate consulting and pursue more flexible work. I wanted something fulfilling that I could do from home and that didn’t require much travel. I have always been interested in both writing and science, and writing nonfiction for kids turned out to be a fun way to combine these interests.


Many skills transferred! Even as an environmental consultant, I was writing every day. I wrote letters, technical reports, and regulatory newsletters for clients. One firm even asked me to lead an in-house seminar on writing for their employees! So, writing itself was a primary skill that transferred. Both careers also require inquisitiveness, research, continuous learning, and problem-solving.


KH: The book layout and comparison/contrast structure works perfectly for this topic. How did editor Carol Hinz and you work together on design, edits?

CA: Thank you! The compare/contrast structure was an early feature of my manuscript and was in place when Carol Hinz acquired it. The primary change Carol suggested did not alter the structure but improved the wording of the contrasting pairs. She suggested I make some of the comparisons more “science-y.” I gave that a lot of thought and adjusted three of the six pairs of adjectives to make them more objective and measurable. For example, “small” versus “big” stayed the same, but “familiar” and “mysterious” became “above” and “below” in a section about clouds and caves. These word choices were clearer for young readers and science teachers.


They book layout and design was handled by Mary Ross and the Lerner art department. I love the way they put opposites on facing pages with a diagonal line separating them. Visually, that reflects the meaning of the words. Carol shared several drafts of the layout with me as it developed. I appreciated the opportunity to comment on the design and photo selection.

KH: Being a back matter aficionado, I applaud the 3 pages of back matter. Did you ask for that or make that suggestion suggest when you submitted the book to Millbrook?

CA: I’m a “back matter aficionado,” too! I wrote and submitted the back matter with the original manuscript. I had even more, but we weren’t able to fit it all in the finished book. If readers would like a glossary, teacher’s guide, or additional resources, please check out my website at The glossary and standards-aligned classroom activities are available as free downloads!


KH: I am taking classes now at the Writing Barn with Bethany Hegedus. Did you take course there? What courses/webinars do you recommend for writers interested in writing nonfiction, particularly science?

CA: I have taken a couple courses with Bethany Hegedus, and I recommend her and The Writing Barn! Interestingly, I first met Bethany at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania, where she and Cynthia Levinson taught an excellent course on picture-book biographies. A year or so after that, I attended a weekend workshop at The Writing Barn. I also participated in The Writing Barn’s Courage to Create (CtC) program for six months. That program connects writers with other writers, editors, and agents through online monthly meetings. One of Bethany’s goals with the CtC program is to support authors and encourage them to continue creating and submitting, believing “your yes is next,” as she likes to say. All these programs were valuable and helped me revise or market my work.


I would recommend a few other courses as well, particularly for nonfiction writers:

·  Beachside Nonfiction Retreat with Jennifer Swanson and Candace Fleming

·  Nonfiction Fest, an online event sponsored by the Nonfiction Chicks

·  Nonfiction programming offered by various SCBWI chapters throughout the year (look for break-out sessions on nonfiction and webinars by regional chapters)

                ·  The Highlights Foundation has annual science-writing workshops. I have not attended these, but I know that past leaders, including Heather Montgomery and Miranda Paul, have provided excellent instruction.


KH: What are you working on now?

CA: I have many projects in the works! One is a picture-book biography of a woman entrepreneur who was a forerunner in the “maker” field. Another is a short, rhyming story based on a winter adventure. I’ve also got a tongue-in-cheek manuscript about surprising animal adaptations and a collection of seasonal poems. I’ve got ideas for a STEAM poetry collection, a middle-grade science title, and a concept story with SEL and STEAM ties. I’m in the process of submitting to agents and hoping to find one in the coming year. Thank you for asking! It’s a pleasure to appear on your blog.

KH: Cindy, it was a pleasure chatting with you and nonfiction. Congrats on this debut.

You can find Cindy here on social media:


Twitter: @CindyArgentine



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Gratitude Attitude with GROGgers with Kathy Halsey, Sue Heavenrich, Tina Cho, Patricia Toth, Christy Mihaly, Leslie Colin Tribble, Suzy Leopold

During this Thanksgiving holiday consider adding the gratitude attitude to your life for a healthier mindset, a happier life, and even better days creating. We GROGgers are sharing what we are grateful for along with some inspiring messages and images. Please join us in what you're grateful for posting in the  comment section.           

Kathy Halsey: This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before."  - Maya Angelou

I love this quote from poet Maya Angelou as it is the beginnings of wonder and thanks. I think of a new day, full of possibilities, looking for wonder and awe in the world. What will I see today that I have never seen exactly the same before? As writers, it's all about POV, and I choose to see the world like a child experiencing a number of first. Wonder fills my well and makes me smile. 

I lucked into a webinar with Jeffrey Davis through The Writing Barn and can't wait for this book, TRACKING WONDER. 

These days I'm tracking wonder through the eyes of a new one year old rescue pup, Scrappy Doo. What excitement in a new toy or outside? Scrappy helps me find the joy as do nature scenes like this captured by GROGer/photographer Leslie Collin Tribble. No filter indeed when Mother Nature and Leslie are scouting the wonder.

Sue Heavenrich:  When we live in the spirit of gratitude, there will be much happiness in our life.  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I think about this when I am outside planting seeds, or gathering vegetables from my garden: how thankful I am for the bounty of the earth. When I am kneeling next to the beds pulling weeds from between the beets and carrots, I smell the richness of the soil. I see the beetles and spiders busy on their errands, and hear the humming of bees, the chorus of birds. Even when a chipmunk climbs the fence and leaps to the thick sunflower stalk, I am grateful that there are many sunflowers - and we can all share the seeds. It's true, you know ~ the thing about being happier when we appreciate the gifts around us.  And there is something else: a realization that I have enough.

Tina Cho: Being joyful isn't what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful. ~Ann Voskamp

When I'm feeling down or overwhelmed, I ask myself--did I write down my blessings for the day? I keep a notebook where I try to write something I'm thankful for each night before I go to bed. Lately, I've been thankful for the cheery flowers. I do NOT have a green thumb, and so for this plant to actually bloom instead of die is a miracle. 

In this season of my writer's life, I'm extremely thankful for...

  • my three critique groups and the unique angles each brings to my manuscripts that greatly need help. 
  • my wonderful agent who believes in me and my writing, even when I don't.
  • my awesome editors who show me how to take my writing to the next level.
  • the kidlit community, who is more like a kidlit family that is very supportive.
  • readers, who read our books & blog posts!

Patricia Toht:

Like Kathy Halsey, my gratitude quote is from Maya Angelou:

"The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for."

If there's one thing that I've learned over two decades of writing, it's that consistently practicing an art makes you better at it. This is as true for gratitude as it is for writing. I frequently pause to count my blessings, especially when things are feeling tough or irritating. I love this song by Bing Crosby, so fitting for the season. 

Christy Mihaly: 

"There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in." ~Leonard Cohen, "Anthem"

This time of year in northern New England, I dread the gloom, the slow leaching away of our light. We'll soon be down to those shortest days, when the sun sets before 4:30. 
I've been thinking about the darkness, and the light. And so this brilliant Leonard Cohen lyric came to mind. And then I thought of the wonderful Louise Penny novels. I love them all, and several pay homage to Cohen's words, and explore the notion of "how the light gets in" through the cracks, the imperfections, the breaks. I'm grateful for the light that shines through our flawed creations. And I'm grateful for Goodness, which, as Louise Penny and Leonard Cohen and many other beautiful souls have reminded us, still exists despite our doubts, and continues to light the darkness. Thank you.

Suzy Leopold:

“Today is today, and it is a gift.” ~Tomie de Paola

Look and Be Grateful is just one of hundreds of beautiful picture books written by Tomie de Paola. The message of this book is sweet and simple. It is an ode to gratitude and mindfulness that includes brilliant illustrations.

As a creator—a writer and painter, I have the ability to communicate meaningful thoughts and feelings of gratitude through the written word with pen and paper and with paints and brushes. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of writing with readers. I am grateful to gift my creations to family and friends.

Every day is a gift to be grateful for.
Watercolor by Suzy Leopold
Inspiration from Tomie de Paola
We GROGgers are always thankful for our resident photographer and outdoor woman, Leslie Colin Tribble, who reminds us via her art that wonders await us. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Take a Look Around - What Inspires You?

Most writers and illustrators spend an incredible amount of solitary time in one key  location—whether it's their office, studio space, or a favorite out-of-the-way nook. While lost in thought when we're digging deep—and inevitably searching for a bit of inspiration—what do we look at? What does our gaze settle on?

A piece of beautiful art or a memorable photo? 

A knickknack with an important back-story? 

A meaningful quote?  

What fills us up and nudges us on? Friends in my creative community shared their thoughts with me.

Carmela Martino glances at an opaque blue-gray egg that was a gift during the time she worked on her M.F.A. at Vermont College. At the end of a semester and a period of working closely together, her mentor presented her with the glass egg. She noted it was a symbol of Carmela's yet unborn stories still waiting to be shared. Simply holding or rubbing the smooth, cool glass egg in her hands helps Carmela seek out inspiration.

Looking at a beautiful piece of art and remembering the story associated with the piece plays a central role for many of us. Julie Phend's husband bought her a piece of woodcut art from Costa Rica entitled "El Escribidor," which means The Writer. She noted "it reminds me that I am indeed a writer, and I have a responsibility to develop my skills."  And what a lovely show of support from her husband.

Michelle Schaub studies a postcard she picked up when she signed up for her first Highlights poetry workshop.

At the program, she worked on polishing a manuscript that would later become her first book sale. She didn't know at the time how attending the workshop would boost that project. "I went for the experience, and I met so many amazing people who have become mentors and supporters," she noted. "It reminds me to say 'yes' to opportunities because you don't know where they will lead. And to enjoy the journey as much as the destination."

Dana Easley hangs watercolors in her office so she is surrounded by creativity while she works on her writing projects. (Cool fact—she actually created this art, too, which I think is pretty amazing!) Who wouldn't be energized and inspired looking at beautiful florals as you ponder a first draft or tackle a challenging revision. It's a reminder that our own creativity knows no bounds.

Dana also has a large quote displayed on one of her office walls that says "Books turn Muggles into Wizards." It reminds her of the joy and value of books. (Created from a vinyl adhesive decal  ordered online—you simply rub it on the wall surface.) I love Dana's example of a big quote on the wall of your office. How cool is that?  I'm going  to have to think about how I can use this awesome idea.

Patty Toht has a few favorite quotes that help her move forward. There are two that she keeps taped to her computer . . . "Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere."—Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird. (I need to remember that as I start my awful first drafts . . .) And then there's this one, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
—Thomas Edison. I love both of these!

When Christy Mihaly was out for a nature walk, she spotted this hand-painted stone. Who painted it? And who took the time to leave it as a sweet surprise for someone to find and brighten their day? An unsolved mystery. It reminds Christy to take notice, be present—and yes, to take joy! (Plus it makes her smile—and a happy writer is usually a productive writer.)

Suzy Leopold finds inspiration from a beautiful hand-quilted creation made by her mom. Displayed right next to her writing desk, gazing at the lovely quilt reminds Suzy of her mother's love as well as her supportive and encouraging words: read, write and create every day. (Bonus—on a cold winter's day Suzy can also use the quilt for an extra layer of warmth to chase away the chill!)

Sherri Rivers surveys the Word Bird art perched on her bookcase and reflects on the amazing experience she had at a Highlights Nonfiction Workshop. During the conference, attendees bid on items as a small fundraiser and this cute piece caught her eye. After winning the bid, her workshop leader would not let her pay for it and bought it for her! Whenever she looks at this little treasure, she remembers the joy of attending the conference, the kindness and generosity of her workshop leader—and the kidlit community in general. Sherri knows that words count and can change lives!

I have one favorite object that speaks to me.  I keep a heavy, round paperweight in a prominent spot on my desk. It's right next to my computer monitor, so I see it whenever I sit down to work. It reads: "The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra." When I'm done with my umpteenth draft of a picture book project and think it just might be across the finish line . . . this paperweight serves as a nice braking mechanism. It encourages me to have patience and set high standards for this work-in-progress. It reminds me to use my critique groups for input. It sends a message to gather and listen to the feedback from industry professionals at conferences. And most importantly,  it signals to give my project more effort before sharing it with a key decision-maker. (Besides, it looks a lot nicer than a big red STOP sign!)

Take a look around. What inspires YOU in your favorite workspace? 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

GROG Roundtable Part 2: Routines and Cues for Revision Facilitated by Kathy Halsey

Roundtable on Revision: Routines and And Cues

In Part One of our Roundtable we discussed our thoughts about how to write consistently. In Part 2 we chew on a topic that writers are always curious about. . . how to pysch yourself into revising. The GROGers have tips and tricks to make your revisions go better.

Kathy Halsey: 

I write my revisions in purple and the Com San Serif font to train my mind that this is revision work. When I see purple, I know my mindset changes. I know everything can be changed. 

I also use my MacBook Pro to read my revision back to me and change as I hear it aloud. On  a Mac, Choose Apple menu, Go to System Preferences,  then to Accessibility. Then click Spoken Content. Select the “Speak selection” checkbox. By default, your Mac speaks text when you press the keyboard shortcut. Again, see System Preferences.

Christy Mihaly: 

My favorite revision tip is to give something to my critique partners! Honestly, they're brilliant. Then I just have to try to reconcile their various comments. 

On my own, for picture books, doing a dummy really helps clarify where I need to revise. 

I  have a cool writer's tool for this: a reusable, 32-page dry-erase notebook that's great for sketching out stories. [Images attached, including one showing how I mapped out spreads for WATER: A Deep Dive of Discovery (which is 64 pages).]

Finally, when I'm stuck with a story I often find that rewriting it from another character's point of view helps get things unstuck.

Carol Coven Grannick:

I happen to love revision much more than the first draft. Re-reading, often aloud, is my door to noticing that something—I may not know what, yet—is “off”. Whether short poem or middle grade novel, I trust the “off” feeling (whether it’s from me or critiquing colleagues). And so it goes over and over, fine tuning one draft after the other until it feels right.

Sue Heavenrich:

Like Christy, I use my critique partners to help me see things that could use revision, or to help me clarify what I’m trying to say. Often I’ll print out what I’m working on and put it in my Morning Pages notebook. I might try a different structure (using rhyme instead of prose) or a different point of view. Or I might wad the whole thing up, toss it against the wall, and say: “If I had to explain this to a kid, how would I do it?” Then I write that into Morning Pages. 

Some of my best ideas for writing and for revision, though, happen while I’m in the garden or turning compost or out for a walk - so I make sure to tuck an index card and pencil in my pocket when I head outside. 

Suzy Leopold

The revision process is a time to bring order to my thoughts. It’s a process of discovery to reread, rewrite, rethink, review, and reconfigure the story idea to write an improved version. My stories include multiple revisions. The following are suggested tips for revision to consider:

  • Revising requires time, patience, and reimagination.

  • Read the manuscript aloud

  • Write a pitch or one sentence description 

  • Create a book dummy

  • Be deliberate with word choices. For example: use a blue highlighter to identify active verbs versus passive verbs, pink to identify dialogue.

  • Read and reread mentor texts

Every writer has his/her own approach for the revision process.

Patricia Toht

My creating is done in fits and spurts, depending on how busy my day job is. But, even if I’m unable to create something new, I usually have something old that can be revised. 

One part of the revision process that I love is focusing on word choice. While it might seem tedious to some, I enjoy taking one sentence at a time and examining each word. Is it necessary or superfluous? Is it the BEST word for THIS sentence? Is there an opportunity to add internal rhyme, assonance, alliteration? If I need to reduce text by a specific count, I write the number of words I'm removing (with a minus) and once in a while adding (with a plus). It's a great visual to show progress!

Four editing resources I keep at hand

Julie Phend

Like Patricia, I love revising for word choice and sentence flow. And, like Carol, I read it aloud for the sound. I have much more trouble revising a whole novel--my first drafts are often messy muddles. What helps me the most is Martha Alderson’s plot planner. I put the plot line on a long piece of craft paper, and use sticky notes above and below the line for specific scenes. The visual really helps me see where the problems are, and the sticky notes make it easy to move scenes around.

You've seen how GROGgers get creative to make revision work, what can you add to our discussion? Give us a revision technique that works for you or one we haven't suggested in the comments. Thank you.