the shrunken manuscript

I'm a visual person. After staring at a computer screen for countless hours, working on my book, I can't "see" the story anymore. Sentences start to float away. Chapters blur together like scenery whizzing by my car window. One way to get a grip on revision? Darcy Pattison's Shrunken Manuscript technique.

Open your book baby-in-progress. Shrink the font to something ant-sized. Print it out and throw it on the floor. Color-code each section (in my case, rainbow-colored sticky notes).

I picked certain colors to represent themes, characters, and conflict. (Pink disappeared for a few chapters. I knew exactly where to patch it up). In my first draft, I tend to write a lot of detail. Most of the time, revising means trimming it down. And it's soooo tough to let go of stuff I really liked writing.

If it doesn't fit the story, it's got to go.

The cat? She can stay.