Posted by: anitanolan | February 12, 2011

Editing Tip

Shannon Hitchcock has posted another interesting blog entry from the SCBWI Miami Conference. This one was a “Novel Writing Intensive” with Erin Murphy, Krista Marino, Executive Editor at Random House (who will be attending the NJ SCBWI conference in June) and writing instructor Joyce Sweeney. Here’s the link.

It sounds like a great workshop. One suggestion was to use Darcy Pattison’s shrunken manuscript technique.

Since I’ve read Pattison’s book, Novel Metamorphosis, about editing your manuscript, and tried the shrunken mss. technique, I thought I’d toss in my two cents about my experience.

The shrunken manuscript technique is this: you print out your manuscript in about 6-8 point type, single-spaced, and then highlight the various parts of the mss. (dialogue, description, emotion, etc) in different colors.

If you think of trying this, (and it is a good technique) let me suggest you either do the highlighting on the computer before reducing the type size (I don’t have this option as I have a B&W Laser printer–no color), which would use a lot of ink, or not shrink the manuscript unless you want a headache.

Trying to read a manuscript in 7 point single-spaced type is awful!

I’ve taken a workshop by Margie Lawson that suggested something similar to the shrunken manuscript technique, except without the shrinking. I thought that worked much better. You might reduce the point size slightly, maybe to 11 point, and single-space it, highlight, and then lay the pages on the floor. Either climb onto a chair and look down at it, or even better, if you have a balcony that overlooks the first floor, lay your mss, maybe 30 pages at a time, on the floor and then look down at it from the balcony. You’ll quickly see what your manuscript is lacking–and where.

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