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Try this revision trick to polish your prose

Are you deep into revisions? Maybe you know you need to cut a few of your little darlings. Or maybe a few thousand? Whatever the case may be, here is one technique from Jane Yolen, the legendary children’s and young adult author.

Take a chapter of your manuscript and break it up into breath spaces as though it were a poem.

It’s a version of what artists do when they want to see if their painting “works.” They turn their painting upside down to see how it looks, Yolen says. It’s a technique for “seeing” the composition.

With poetry, it’s natural to read a group of words, breathe, then read another group. By breaking up your prose into breath spaces as though it were a poem, you’ll be able to see unnecessary sentences, repetitious places, clichés, or awkward wording. As you experience your prose this way, you’ll tune in to how you breathe. It’s a natural way to see your work.

For more insight on writing and to find the latest news about Yolen’s work, visit her website.

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