This week I started work on revision#8 of a middle grade novel I wrote for last years NaNoWriMo. I got some helpful feedback from a literary agent I respect and made up a list of improvements to make. I completed the specific changes I wanted to implement in the story and since story tension was a difficulty the agent mentioned, I started going through every page of the story with tension in mind. This exercise is called “Tension on Every Page” and is from the Donald Maass book Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook. I number a page from 1 to 201. This is the number of pages in my story. Then I randomly turn to a page in my manuscript. I read the whole page making certain that there is story tension on that page. If there is not, I add tension. Even if there is, I add more tension if I can think of a believable way to do so. I’ve also been making any changes I can think of that might improve that page. When I’m done with that page, I highlight it on my paper and then randomly turn to another page. The writing exercise doesn’t really work unless you approach each page randomly. This tricks the brain into really seeing what is there, instead of what you hope is there. I’m almost a fourth of the way through and hopeful that this will greatly improve my story.
I was also blessed to see The Volk Advent featured on Book Blab, a blog for book reviews run by a Christian literary agent.