I actually had an epiphany yesterday, when looking at the recommendations for the rewrites, particularly the first, permanent mentor's. What she did, just by comparing the two texts side-by-side, was to strip my text of most of the narration -- non-dialogue -- and leave the dialogue on the page.
I have a scene, actually two, in my MS that I've never been happy with. They drag. I experimented with this rewriting technique yesterday.
Oh, my goodness, it reads so much better! I had to rewrite, pretty heavily, and add back in narration when it was warranted -- but the scene now has real tension, which I struggled to bring out before! My heart beat faster as I wrote. It's pretty good, now.
I've heard a couple of authors at a SCBWI conference say they do this. At the 2014 conference, Linda Sue Park talked about choosing each and every word for her books. At the time, I thought she meant because she writes picture books, where 500 word limits can be daunting. But other authors, like Gail Carson Levine, have mentioned in numerous interviews that they do it, too, and have to "strip" down to what's essential.
Now I think I see what they mean.
Also, working on my latest WIP, which I feel like I'm just roughing out, contains long stretches of back-and-forth dialogue. My alpha reader remarked they're either funny or very fast-paced.
I'm excited to employ this "narration stripping" technique throughout the portions of my MS where the pace, or the flow, sags. I've got a strategy for whipping them into shape.
I've always been a hands-on learner. I have to make the mistake before the solution pops out at me. Then, I need to systematically apply the solution before it's cemented. I can read and listen to what other authors do to their text, to make it stronger, but it isn't a "strategy" for me until I've internalized and applied it.
And that's what this process has done.
Thank you 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop!