Thursday, June 2, 2011

Going Graphic: Revising

If you know third graders then you know that they despise revising.  Completely developmental.  And even though they become more comfortable with it by the end of the school year, they still require a bit of prodding to do so.  Because we are writing Graphic Novels, I decided that it would be best to use some qualities of Graphic Novels to focus in on during revision.  But...I stressed how these tips and tricks could be used for any genre.  Even though I was already familiar with these writing tips, the book, You Can Do A Graphic Novel reminded me of them!

The rule of three. Ahhh.. How they loved the rule of three. Third graders love lists and itoften comes up in their writing. This was helpful in keeping their writing elaborate yet succinct. We briefly talked about how quickly we could put our readers into snooze mode by making these lengthy lists.  One of the best ways to keep our readers alive and interested is to limit our lists to three items.  

Then we talked about the rule of three when it came to characters. They all knew each of their characters well, their traits and characteristics. They loved this when they were able to realize how they could make their reader draw this conclusion about their characters. If you want your character to be a certain way, then you should have him/her behave that way at least three times.  They loved this!  Because they had already decided how they wanted their characters to be, they re-read their scripts to make sure they were doing something to show that trait at least three times.  

I enjoyed sitting down to talk to them about how they did this because each of their characters were so unique!  One of the partnerships is writing a vampire comedy and as they were talking about how they made sure their characters Devon was sarcastic and Sassy was sassy, I was literally laughing out loud!  What was even more interesting was that there were a couple of partnerships that had multiple (five and up) characters and they were bound and determined to do this for each of their characters!  We talked about quick color-
coding and/or abbreviation system that they could use to check, and off they went.  

The other Graphic Novel element we talked about was the twist (another great tip from that book).  The twist is the part of the story where something unexpected happens.  We referred back to a few of the read alouds we had done over the school year (The Giver, Tiger Rising, Skeleton Man) and realized that the twist in these stories happened close to or during the resolution.  They decided that this would be the best place to put a twist in their stories.  One partnership is writing a zombie story and they decided to have anti-zombie fighting colonel become a zombie (very Battlestar Gallactica)!

I have to say that one of the best things about revising this way was that there were no, "I don't need to revise" comments made.  They were happily going back into their stories deleting and adding!  There were probably a few reasons for this.
  1. They are loving the genre.
  2. What they were focusing on during revising was how to make a really good graphic novel.
  3. I called them tips and tricks (thanks, Ralph Fletcher!).
It was nice not having to cajole twenty kiddoes into rereading their stories, deleting unnecessary parts, and adding more details!