Saturday, August 5, 2023

Time to Play: Revision as a Practice of Creative Openness with Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is an Executive Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 19 years. Her acquisitions encompass picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, graphic novels, and novels in verse. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 22 years of children’s bookselling experience. 

Melissa invites us to stretch. Like, physically get up and stretch. And then consider this. That we want to stretch enough to feel it, but not cause us pain.

It's the stretch, the middle point of where we feel it (without pain) that there is growth. Stasis is what we are easily capable of, where nothing is changing. If there's pain, we are not capable yet. There is no growth in stasis or pain. Many of us were raised to think there are only these two places: easy on yourself and too hard on yourself. 

In the middle is compassion. Where you know you're worth the effort and capable of growth!

Melissa give us the equation:


Melissa expresses the value in reading mentor text, and lots of them. Read a lot, and then read a lot more. Ask yourself many questions about those mentor texts, including: What did I love? What did I hate?


Melissa recommends keeping an idea journal--writing every kind of idea down. "The more ideas you write down, the more ideas you will have."


Melissa recommends an hour of quick drafting. Starting with brainstorming a whole lot of "bad" ideas, reflecting and then drafting several of them, and then reflecting some more. 


Defamiliarizing can help us get past the trouble of seeing what we have written and what we want our manuscripts to be. Try recasting your story as a picture book, middle grade, graphic novel, a poem, etc. (as something it is not currently). 

Other things to try: Write the longest and shortest version of your story. Explore structure. Explore voice. In this stretching place, Melissa encourages everyone--explore, reflect, explore, reflect. 

And then Melissa shares something really powerful sends hearts flying on the screen. The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression. Play is practice! 



If you want to view this session to hear the full content, along with the rest of the conference, register at Replays of the conferences will be available until September 10, 2023. 

No comments:

Post a Comment