Revision Techniques

These are “Revision Techniques” I have assembled over the years and use in my writing classes. What follows are videos I made in VoiceThread and then ripped them as video files. Here is a PDF of all of them. In these videos, I go through most of these exercises with some tips and commentary.

Straightforward Revisions

These are the more “straightforward” techniques which deal with writing on the sentence and paragraph levels, as well as some opening sentence ideas and title conventions.

Introduction 0:00
20 Templates for Opening Sentences 1:11
More Suggested First Sentences… 3:22
Title Conventions: Some Classic Ideas 4:17
Other First Sentence Ideas 4:12
Adding Descriptive Phrase(s) into a Sentence 5:45
Adding Descriptive Sentences into a Paragraph 13:04
Adding Descriptive Paragraphs Leaps and Tangents with Research 18:52
Go Deeper By Adding 21:58
Clarify Writing with These Prompts 23:10
Second-Guessing on Paper and the “Rhetoric of Process” 24:25
Research and the Rhetoric of Gaps 29:36
Slowing Down; Or, Pressing the Pause Button 34:36
Fight Clutter and Eliminate Adjectives 36:01

OuLiPo-Inspired Revision Techniques

Here is a collection of writing prompts and revision techniques inspired by the French writer and artist collective OuLiPo.

What is OuLiPo? 1:01
The Un-Redundancy Exercise 6:32
The Slugogram 8:17
The Isomorphism Exercise 12:08
The N+7 Exercise 13:56
Exercises in Style 17:10
The Lipogram Exercise 26:49
The Anagrammatical Text Exercise 31:41
The Métro Poem 33:38

Medium-Radical Revision Techniques

I call these the “medium” or “medium-radical” techniques.

Introduction 0:00
Bring Metacommentary into Your Writing 0:43
More Meta; Or, Have Fun with Movie Trailer Clichés 6:09
Establish a Double Persona 9:44
The Substantial Word Riff 15:07
Writing a Flashback Scene 20:25
Put Your Writing in Reverse; Or, “Benjamin Button”–izing Your Writing 29:37
Cut-Ups: Old School Edition 32:16
Cut-Ups, New School Edition 36:54
Three-Act Revision 38:13
Five-Act Narrative Revision 40:55
Five-Act Narrative Revision II 48:10
Research One of Your Topics 50:39

Super-Radical Revision Techniques

These are the “super-radical” techniques, one that are intended to transform your draft in radical, often counter-intuitive ways.

Introduction 0:00
Changing Point of View from First to Second, Third, or None 1:00
— the first person “I” — third person “we” 4:18
— second person “you” 6:07
— no person’s point of view at all 8:33
Write a Sestina Version of your Writing 11:21
Place Us in the Room Where You Are Writing 15:43
The Forced Epiphany 22:19
Turning a Story into a How-To and Hermit Crab Writing 30:18
Place an Objective Correlative into Your Writing 38:09
The Re-Translation Exercise 45:27
Rewrite Your Piece from Memory 48:44
Use an Oblique Strategy [link] 49:21