Alexis provided a worksheet with simple tips on how to “layer” our revisions. She suggests that each time we read our story; focus on one layer at a time. In other words, read it through concentrating only one aspect, perhaps verb choices. The next time, read it through concentrating only on dialogue. And so on.
I slip easily over certain parts of my manuscripts and “hear what I want to hear.” I find this approach useful, to intentionally focus on one layer at each re-reading.
This is also a method to try when critiquing the manuscripts of those in your writing group. You can give specific feedback, which is much more helpful for the writer than generalizations.
Character: Is the main character’s desire and problem clear? Believable? Do all characters in your story belong or can you trim? Is the main character different in some way (or has consciously decided not to change) by the end of the story?
POV: Is the point-of-view the best perspective? Will your story work better from another POV? Try having another character tell the story; maybe from the pet’s POV rather than the kid’s who owns the pet.
Dialogue: Does your character sound his or her age? Are you making tags invisible and avoiding adverbs?
Plot: A picture book has 32 pages – 14 double-page spreads. Is the story line clear? Does your story have a question that pulls the reader through to the end to find out the answer? (I love this challenge!)
Vocabulary: Are you employing rich language choices? Varying sentence lengths? Limiting adjectives? Making every word count? Using strong verbs? Surprising readers with a simile or metaphor? These choices add up to what editors call “voice.”
Verb Tenses: Are you using active rather than passive verbs? (The squirrel nibbled the nut rather than the nut was eaten by the squirrel.)
Show Don’t Tell: Can readers “see” each scene?
Do you struggle or glide passed any of these areas? Try layering.
Read it aloud. Be brave and have someone else read it aloud. Listen for rough spots, slow spots, confusing spots.
Revise; and then go back to focus on each layer again.
Soon your story will be ready for submission day!
 Tips taken from: Creating a World in 800 Words or Less; Picture Book Revision Tips. Alexis O’Neill. 2016
by Trine Grillo