Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein

amazon.com
The NY SCBWI conference was full of information, but time only allowed for three breakout sessions. So I snagged my roomate's notes from the brilliant 'revision' session, and ended up grabbing the speaker's book too:
Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein.

Second Sight is an obvious pun, which I love, but the book does equip a writer with the laser vision required for a tough edit. Plus, Cheryl Klein is a superhero - I mean -  a Scholastic editor who worked on the Harry Potter series. Enough said, right?

Some of the included ideas:

1) Run a plot checklist to identify the dominant plot threads in your work - www.cherylklein.com/plotchecklist.html
This one is relatively easy, so try it.

2) Create a book map, scene by scene, for your entire manuscript. No skipping around.
For me, this is the holy grail. It helped me put my writing into perspective like nothing else I'd ever tried. It holds a writer accountable for the content of every scene, spots plot holes and redundancies, and you really should try it. Ms. Klein refers us to www.anitanolan.com/theend.html, where there are some really great tips, like highlighting aspects of your manuscript in different colors. I like to use the highlights for plot threads, but she uses them for other reasons too. You'll have to head over there because there really is too much to cover in a quick book review.

3) Make a minimap using one-line summaries for each chapter.
This is not as easy as you'd think, and it's best done after you've completed the bookmap.

4) There are some repeated ideas, since the book is a compilation of talks she gave at various conferences. Repetition is actually a good thing because sometimes you need to hear it more than once. I read it one talk at a time, over the course of a few weeks. I don't recommend reading it all in one sitting. Let your brain absorb the ideas, read the next section, and then take out your pretty, new highlighters.

This post will end up spilling all the beans. I need to stop. You need to get the book. I'm sure $16.99 isn't too much to pay for amazing advice that can take your writing to the next level.

Bottom line: I've read books on craft, and some on revision, but this is one of the best by far because it gives me the tools to help my writing shine. And I'm not just saying that because Ms. Klein signed my copy. ;)


6 comments:

Connie Keller said...

I have a writer friend with a birthday coming up. This might be the perfect gift.

Matthew MacNish said...

Instant bookmark.

Southpaw said...

I like the sound of it. I will check it out and the links too.

Lydia Kang said...

Ooh, I love the idea of a book map!

LTM said...

this is so cool. I know you told me about the book map, but I don't think we discussed the mini-map! I'm so getting this. Thanks, C~ :o) <3

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