Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Nonfiction Revision Decisions


By Melissa Stewart


First of all, I’d like to thank Pat Miller and the rest of the Nonfiction Chicks—Susan Kralovansky, Peggy Thomas, Nancy Churnin, and Linda Skeers—from the bottom of my heart. What an incredible gift they’ve given the entire children’s nonfiction community!

This year for NF Fest, I’m going to do something a little 
bit different. Instead of writing an essay, I’m sharing
THIS LINK to an interactive visual-audio tool that takes an up-close look at my revision process for Summertime Sleepers: Animals that Estivate.

It includes how my thinking evolved and I worked through big picture revisions as well as a series of drafts where the editor and I are discussing key points via track changes. I created this tool for students, but I think writers will also find it both illuminating and useful. I hope you enjoy it.


Give it a Try
Use the Voice Continuum to come up with a description for the voice of your nonfiction work in progress. Is that the best possible voice for the information you want to share and the way you want to share it? Consider experimenting with a different voice. If you are happy with the voice, how can you revise to make it even stronger?

 

About the Author

Melissa Stewart has written more than 190 science books for children, including her newest titles Summertime Sleepers: Animals that Estivate, illustrated by Sarah s. Brannen Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. She co-wrote 5 Kinds of Nonfiction: Enriching Reading and Writing Instruction with Children’s Books, edited the anthology Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-winning Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing, and maintains the award-winning blog Info-licious Inspiration. Melissa’s highly-regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources.









114 comments:

  1. Go to Melissa’s website, click on educators, then click on filmstrip to find link to revision process if the above link doesn’t work. (Hope you don’t mind that I shared this tip:)

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    1. Thanks,
      The link should work, I double checked it and added a second link.

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  2. Thank you, Melissa, Pat, Linda, Susan, Peggy, and Nancy for all that you do for the children's nonfiction community.

    Suzy Leopold

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  3. Thanks for sharing a bit of your writing process, Melissa! With line edits plus comments from the editor it's fascinating and helpful.

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  4. Thank you, Melissa for a peek into your process❤️ You are always so generous in sharing ways to help other writers.

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  5. What a gift, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing your process.

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    1. I learned much of what I know about nonfiction from your book Nonfiction Mentor Texts.

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  6. Humbling reminder that even Melissa Stewart manuscripts are rejected if they're not ready! Thank you, Melissa! And I love the audio element here!

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  7. This is so cool, Melissa. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Loved this! So great to see your work as it progressed and to hear your voice. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. Melissa, you always make the process real for us. And you do it with clarity. It just starts to make sense! Thank you!

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  10. That's a great presentation where kids can learn about failure, perseverance, revision, and the writing process. Nicely done!

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  11. Thank you for all the great writing tips!

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  12. Thanks for sharing your process! And Wow, what a journey!

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  13. What a great teaching lesson for the kids and for us as writers. Thank-you!!!

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  14. Thank you for giving us a peek into some of your revisions - so encouraging to see that even for someone as experienced as you, there is still a lot of back and forth and stops and starts! Love this lesson in perseverance for adults and children alike.

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    1. There's a story behind every book--sometimes a long and winding one.

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  15. Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing that in such an accessible way!

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  16. Oh, this is perfect! I have been struggling with the voice of my piece for awhile now and this post seems like just the thing I need! Can't wait to try out the tool. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. The Voice Choice video on my website may also help you.
      https://www.melissa-stewart.com/videos/video_mini_lessons.html

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  17. Thank you for the insight to the whole process of writing your book.

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  18. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your editing process. You've grabbed my attention and left me with some serious thoughts concerning my mss.

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  19. What a solid gold resource. Thanks so much for sharing, Melissa.

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  20. What a fantastic way to show us the revision process! Thank you so much, Melissa. Very helpful!

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  21. Love seeing (and hearing) your revision process! This was so helpful.

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  22. This is so inspiring, thank you for sharing your process, Melissa Stewart!

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  23. I enjoyed your presentation about the revision and editing process of your story. Then I had to visit your website, too. I feel like I had a crash course in how to find voice in my writing. Thank you!

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    1. So glad you found all the materials on my website useful, Krissy,

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  24. Trust Melissa to come up with a clever way to talk about her nonfiction process! Thank you!

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    1. Oh, wow, thanks for your kind words, Teresa. I'm always looking for more engaging ways to present nonfiction content.

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  25. WOW! This was so wonderful to see all the revisions you made yourself and then continued to make with your editor. Thanks for sharing and I loved the format!

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  26. Really enjoying this look and listen into your revision process. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Great way to view your revision process and congratulations on the well deserved recognition of all the hard work!

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  28. Thank you Melissa. I think a lot of writers, especially new writers, underestimate the number of drafts required to make the final product sing!

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    1. Yes, it can be surprising to discover the road to publication has so many twists and turns. Every manuscript is its own journey.

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  29. Thank you, Melissa, for your generosity. You always share the best advice!

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  30. Melissa, this is a very cool way to showcase your revision process. Can't wait to share it with my future students.

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  31. WOW I feel like i've sit in on one of your classes. Thanks so much!

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  32. Melissa, I love everything about this post - the book (of course), the illumination of your writing and revision process, and the innovative tool you've created for students! What a gift you've shared with us--thank you!

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    1. I'm always looking for innovative ways to share information.

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  33. Writers realize that revision is what happens. However, seeing and hearing your revision process brings clarity. Thank you1

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    1. I'm so glad hearing about my journey was helpful to you, Joyce.

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  34. This is great instruction in only 24 slides! Invaluable--I bookmarked it. It's also a great lesson in perseverance and persistence. Thank you, Melissa!

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    1. So glad you found it useful. I'm so glad you bookmarked it.

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  35. Thank you for insight into your revision process. Loved the format also!

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  36. So helpful seeing the revision process. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It takes as long as it takes. Every book is a journey.

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  37. This is incredible! I will use it in my writing and teaching work. Thank you for an amazing resource.

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  38. Thanks for sharing this, Melissa!

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  39. Thanks for sharing part of your process! So much to learn here...

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    1. Isn't Nonfiction Fest a treasure trove of great information? I'm excited to read all the posts.

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  40. Thank you for that! It was incredibly illuminating.

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  41. Thank you! This is such an amazing resource on revision.

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  42. That was the coolest! Thank you, Melissa.

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  43. WOW! Four years and 17 drafts! I’m always in awe of your work. Thank you for sharing your process and giving us a glimpse into the writer/editor partnership!

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    1. I'm lucky to work with a wonderful editor at Charlesbirdge.

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  44. Love the concept of the voice continuum, and it was fascinating (and super insightful) to see your manuscript marked up to show the revision process. Thanks for sharing!

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  45. Awesome presentation, Melissa. You have such incredible gifts, both in writing informative, fun books for children, as well as educating your audience on the writing/revision process.

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  46. This was great! Thanks for sharing.

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  47. This was really fabulous. What a great gift to us writers and students of NF

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  48. Thank you, Melissa. So fascinating to see the back and forth between author and editor and the changes made as a result. Re-vision always makes the product stronger - I tell myself everyday.

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    1. Sometimes revision can be frustrating, but it's so rewarding to see the final version.

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  49. Melissa, you are always so generous with your process and knowledge. Thank you for sharing with us all!

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  50. Melissa, many of your behind-the-scenes posts have been so helpful to me as I've started finding my voice as a NF writer. Thank you for sharing your process with us once again!

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    1. You're welcome. Callie. Good luck with your writing.

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  51. Melissa, thanks for sharing your process and your persistence. I'll definitely use your Voice Continuum to reevaluate my works-in-progress.

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  52. I'm really struggling with this. I've rewritten my NF PB MS many times now, changing the voice and the hook, and still it isn't right. 2 editors love the idea of the story, and invited a revise and resubmit, but I still can't figure out the correct angle. I thought I finally had it over the holiday, but my agent thinks it's still not working. Praying for some miracle breakthrough. Thanks for this blog post to help me out.

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  53. MELISSA: THANK YOU for INSPIRING us by taking us along on your writer's journey. This interactive tool SHOWS your work in-progress, instead of TELLING us about it. TRULY AFFECTIVE! I especially appreciate the probing questions you pose in order to find the right/best voice to tell our story, as well as how to strengthen it. A LOT to consider here. THANK YOU!!!

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  54. What a great peek into the process of researching, writing, and revising. Most people think that children's books are sooooo simple to write...not realizing that they are most likely the most difficult of all. I bet the kids absolutely love this presentation!

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  55. Thanks Melissa! So helpful seeing the editing process.

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  56. Melissa, what an amazing gift to share. I am always so amazed by your generosity and helpfulness as well as your creativity. You truly are inspiring. Thank you!

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  57. Thank you for being such a gold mine of info-licious information. Viva voice!

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  58. Love your explanations of the revision process as you went along! Julie Blevins obviously knew that you would come through in your changes, but would she do that for other writers who are unknowns. That R&R can be so tricky! Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

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  59. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing your revision process.

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  60. Thanks, Melissa. This was the perfect way of showing (instead of telling) how revision happens. I wish all kids could see your little video.

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  61. Thank you for sharing more valuable information with your o0wn process of revisions. Priceless!

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