Thursday, June 18, 2009

SRS Lash Flash #3: Paula Yoo

All right, smackdowners. You've been quiet this week, but hopefully you're continuing to soak up all the goodness and tips coming at you. And today continues to deliver. Don't miss Carrie Jone's over at Holly's.

I'm so excited to welcome acclaimed author, TV drama screen writer, and musician, Paula Yoo. Paula's latest book is SHINING STAR: THE ANNA WONG STORY. Paula is also the author of GOOD ENOUGH and SIXTEEN YEARS IN SIXTEEN SECONDS: THE SAMMY LEE STORY. She also recently organized and hosted NaPiBoWriWee!

Today, Paula offers us this great thought:

Here's a fun revision tip I learned at one of the billion writing classes I took when I was first starting out as a writer.

I remember one writing teacher suggested we consider cutting the final paragraph. She said often times, we would find that the second-to-last paragraph truly was the real ending to our story. She explained that when we write first drafts, sometimes we aren't confident enough or we don't trust our readers, so we add on that extra last paragraph that over-explains the ending or over-sentimentalizes the story's final image to the point of sledgehammer overkill.
I have found that every time I try this trick, nine times out of ten it works and the real ending was the second-to-last-paragraph!

So next time you are revising a completed first draft of your picture book or a full chapter of your novel, place your hand over the final paragraph and hide it. Then read the draft all the way through, and decide if the story/chapter works without that last paragraph. I guarantee you will be surprised at how this tip really works!
Thank you, Paula. This is the perfect tip as we get ready to enter our final week of the Smackdown!
Don't forget to report in at Holly's tomorrow!

1 comment:

holly cupala said...

Interesting! Sort of a reversal of the "cut the first three chapters" advice. I checked mine out to see if it fit the profile - my previous paragraph was incomplete without the last, which is just one sentence to carry the weight of the last idea. I'll have to keep this advice in mind as I revise the next one. Thanks, Paula! (I loved GOOD ENOUGH, btw!)