Is the level-down revision method helpful?

A couple years ago, I took an online course called Write a Bestselling Novel in 15 Steps by Jessica Brody. It was free through my local public library’s website and in it, Brody talks about her book Save the Cat Writes a Novel. She uses examples and exercises to ensure a vivid understanding for each step. I love it and use my notes from it constantly.

A few weeks ago, I came across a YouTube video, hosted by NaNoWriMo, in which Brody teamed up with Fictionary founder Kristina Stanley. For an hour, they talked about how Brody’s revision method worked seemlessly into the Fictionary’s online novel writing program.

So, what is Brody’s novel revision process? She calls it the “level-down” method, and recommends writing drafts on the story level first, that is at the “top level” which includes major decisions like story structure and character development. She has a checklist of items to accomplish before focusing on scenes and individual sentences.

The next level is the scene level. The writer examines each individual scene with another checklist of criteria before focusing in on the most narrowed-down level of all: the page level.

So that’s three levels: story level, scene level and page level.

I’m still going through the level-down revision course on Brody’s Writing Mastery Academy. All the courses can be accessed for $15 a month and it’s worth it if you want some great advice on novel writing. This includes the 15 steps course I mentioned above that I took for free already. So far, I feel I am getting so much out of Brody’s lectures; she uses great examples and exercises to plug the concepts she explores into my own writing. Check it out and see if it’s for you.

In the meantime, NaNoWriMo is hosting a series over the level down method by Brody and Stanley. These videos will give you an overview of how to use the level down method to revise your novel as well as tips on using Fictionary. You can decide if you want to subscribe to either Fictionary or the Writing Mastery Academy if you want to go deeper.

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