One Writer’s Journey

October 17, 2017

5 Senses: Use As Many As Possible When You Write

One of the things that Darcy Pattison has writers do in her Novel Metamorphosis workshop is to catalog sensory perceptions for a particular scene.  Don’t be satisfied with 3 or 4 details total. Darcy asks you to come up with 3 details per sense per scene.

Why so many?  Sensory details make your writing more realistic. They help pull your reader into the story.

The problem is that people are good at seeing and sometimes at hearing.  Smelling and tasting?  It depends on the scene since it is easy to include smell and taste at a meal or smell in a flower garden, but not so easy when walking down a corridor.

The importance of writing with the senses was again emphasized when I read “Using Physicality to Bring Your Characters (And Your Fiction) to Life.” Joan Dempsey wrote this guest post for the Writer’s Digest blog.  Dempsey explains that using specific sensory perceptions make the characters seem more real because they sense the same things we sense. They can also be a great way to demonstrate character emotion without saying “Hillary was mad.”  “Eddie was happy.”

In my WIP, I know I’ve worked in plenty of visual detail.  That one tends to be easy for me. We writers tend to describe various characters visually including details on height, build and hair color.  And I’ve also included visual details about the scenery. My character is in the mountains and I note the things that she sees.

Beyond that, I know I’ve worked in some sounds.  There’s wind.  There rock grinding on rock.  And there are foot falls not to mention an unfamiliar language.

But I need to do more with touch.  I have some information about temperature, but that’s it.  And given the fact that she slides down a rocky incline, that just won’t do!

As always, taste and smell are going to be tough. I know what I can do for smell but taste?  That one is going to require some thought.  But it will be worth the effort.  Because working in these details will help bring my characters, setting and story to life for my readers.

–SueBE

 

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October 12, 2017

How Long Should It Take to Write Your Book?

I’ve been thinking about this since early yesterday when I read Sarah Callender’s post, “Bun in the Oven: The Gestation Period of a Novel.”  Sarah wrote about working on her novel for 4.5 years, writing several drafts before she discovered a plot.

When I write fiction, I’m a lot like Sarah.  I have to write to realize.  Usually before I start writing I know who my characters are and more or less what is going to happen.  But as I write, I’m feeling my way through the plot.  By the end of draft one, I have managed to record a fairly accurate version of the plot.

But I haven’t included much at all about the setting.  At least not past chapter two or three.  Early on, the setting is vibrant.  I use all of my senses.  I pull in relevant details.  But by the end, I’m writing the plot.

The good news is that by the end of that first draft, I have a much better idea who my character are.  I can go back and write the setting with that in mind.  What would character X notice?  And what about character Y?  Then of course I have to go back and work in the relevent bits of characterization.

That’s something like three drafts just to get what I consider a solid first draft.  Then I can analyze it all with Darcy Pattison’s Novel Metamorphosis.  This book is a great tool for comparing the story in my head with the story on paper.  Once I’ve worked through her book, a workshop in print, I’m ready for several more drafts.

So how long should it take to write your book?  As long as it takes.

Seriously.  It’s a process not a race.

Not that you should think I’m relaxed about this.  I love it when I’m making progress but I also do best when I’m working on fiction and nonfiction simultaneously.  The best way to do it is to write draft 1 on a piece of fiction while working up a book for Abdo.  Why?  Because I have just over a month the write an Abdo book.

Ready set . . . write!  It must work at least sometimes because in that time I can produce a solid manuscript.  Fiction?  Pfft.  That’s a different situation.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go annoy my self with fiction.  I have some characters to torment.

–SueBE

June 1, 2016

Writing the Senses: Sense of Smell

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:18 am
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girl-1417553_960_720A number of years ago, I took a workshop with Darcy Pattison on rewriting your novel.  One of the things that she taught us was to include three sensory perceptions per page.  No worries.  It’s easy enough to say how big something is, what color it is and describe its texture.  But wait!  There’s more!  Darcy explained that we needed to have details from three different senses.

This is usually doable for me as long as a stick with sight, sound and touch.  But as long as I’m adding variety, I feel like I should add smell and taste as well.

That’s when things get tricky.  Unless my character is eating, has just been smacked in the mouth or nose, or is smelling something really strong, working in taste is tough.  People don’t just walk around tasting things.

Smells are easier in that if you have a good sense of smell it can be hard to ignore smells.  Right now, sitting in my office, I can smell the garlic from the green beans and the hot peppers from the chicken that we had for dinner.  I can smell the cup of coffee on my desk.  And I can smell my son’s shampoo — he’s taking a shower in the bathroom across the hall.

The tricky bit is describing these smells.  I can go easy and simply say that the shampoo is strawberry because most of my readers know what strawberry smells like.  But what if I was describing something less common like prickly pear fruit?  Or durian?

I did a search on describing smells and managed to compile this list of descriptive words: acidy, acrid, antiseptic,  aromatic, balmy, biting, bitter, briny, burnt, citrusy, clean, comforting, corky, crisp, damp, dank, dirty, distinctive, doggy, earthy, faint, feminine, fetid, fishy, flowery, fragrant, fresh, fruity, gamy, gaseous, heavy, lemony, lilac, lime, medicinal, metallic, mildewed, minty, moldy, musky, musty, odorless, peppery, perfumed, piney, plastic, pungent, putrid, rancid, reek, rose, rotten, sandlewood, savoury, scented, sharp, sickly, skunky, smoky, sour, spicy, spoiled, stagnant, stench, stinking, sulphur, sweaty, sweet, tart, tempting, vinegary, woody, yeasty.

Scents are powerful because they help us call on our memories and emotions.  A scent can serve as a character trait if your female character always smells of lavender or your male character of lime.  Scents can also be indicative of culture such as England’s roses vs Ireland’s peat fires.

I’m still learning my way around this particular sense, at least in terms of including it in my writing, but when I pull it off my settings feel more real than simple words on the page.

–SueBE

 

October 1, 2014

30 Days to a Stronger Novel

30DaysUdemy-960x540-150For anyone who has taken part in Darcy Pattison’s Novel Revision Retreat or used her book, Novel Metamorphosis, you know how eye opening her techniques can be.  Follow them, actually utilize them, and you will see your work improve by leaps and bounds as will your understanding of your writing.

Darcy is now offering an online video course through Udemy.  30 Days to a Strong Novel begins in November.

Because it is an online course, you access the videos whenever your schedule allows.  You don’t have to wait until a specific date to watch a video.  For those of you who don’t know Darcy and her work, this won’t just be someone talking at you.  Darcy will give you something to do, something specific that, if you put it into use, will improve your work.

Here is her table of contents for the course:

  • Watership Down with Armadillos: Titles
  • Search Me: Subtitles
  • Defeat Interruptions: Chapter Divisions
  • Scarlett or Pansy: The Right Character Name
  • My Wound is Geography: Stronger Settings
  • Horse Manure: Stronger Setting Details
  • Weaklings: Every Character Must Matter
  • Take Your Character’s Pulse
  • Yin-Yang: Connecting Emotional and Narrative Arcs
  • Owls and Foreigners: Unique Character Dialogue
  • Sneaky Shoes: Inner and Outer Character Qualities
  • Friends or Enemies: Consistent Character Relationships
  • Set Up the Ending: Begin at the Beginning
  • Bang, Bang! Ouch! Scene Cuts
  • Go Away! Take a Break
  • Power Abs for Novels
  • White Rocks Lead Me Home: Epiphanies
  • The Final Showdown
  • One Year Later: Tie up Loose Ends
  • Great Deeds: Find Your Theme
  • The Wide, Bright Lands: Theme Affects Setting
  • Raccoons, Owls, and Billy Goats: Theme Affects Characters
  • Side Trips: Choosing Subplots
  • Of Parties, Solos, and Friendships: Knitting Subplots Together
  • Feedback: Types of Critiquers
  • Feedback: What You Need from Readers
  • Stay the Course
  • Please Yourself First
  • The Best Job I Know to Do
  • Live. Read. Write.

Something that caught my attention – Darcy is offering a group discount.  This means that if you can get your critique group to sign up, you will all save money.

I’m serious when I tell you that if you sign up for a class with Darcy and apply the techniques, you will be amazed at the growth you see in your work.  I’m not just saying that because she is a friend, although she is.  Darcy is one of the most analytic writers that I know.  I’m not particularly analytic in my writing so she compliments me well and I always learn something about my work when I analyze it Darcy-style.  If you are serious about your writing, find out more about the class here.

–SueBE

August 13, 2014

CBC Projects Top Sellers

Childrens Book Council logoIf you want to know which books the Children’s Book Council thinks are going to be top sellers, check out their listing “Hot Off the Press.”  The books on the list have either recently been released or are forthcoming, but they are all books that the CBC predicts will make it big.  The exciting news for me?  My friend Darcy Pattison has a book on the August list.  You’ll find  Kell, The Alien, Book 1 in the Alien, Inc series in the first column.  Woo-hoo!

The complete August list, minus book descriptions, is as follows:

  • About Parrots: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill
  • Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle by Alfred Ollivant, in a new version by Lydia Davis
  • Aliens, Inc. Series, Book 1: Kell, The Alien by Darcy Pattison
  • Animal School: What Class Are You? by Michelle Lord
  • Blind by Rachel DeWoskin
  • Call Me Isis by Gretchen Maurer
  • Cast Away on the Letter A: A Philemon Adventure by FRED
  • Dash by Kirby Larson
  • False Future by Dan Krokos
  • Mira’s Diary: Bombs Over London by Marissa Moss
  • National Geographic Little Kids Look and Learn: Things That Go by National Geographic
  • Next Time You See the Moon by Emily Morgan with photographs by Tom Uhlman, NASA, Steven David Johnson, Judd Patterson, and Mooncalendars.com
  • P is for Pirate by Eve Bunting
  • The Phoenix Files: Doomsday by Chris Morphew
  • The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill
  • yolo by Lauren Myracle

This whole thing has me jazzed because . . . well, look at who else is on the list.  Darcy is up there with Kirby Larson, Eve Bunting and Lauren Myracle. There’s a book from National Geographic.

That makes this a solid lesson in “the cream will rise to the top and some of that cream will be from independent presses.”  That’s right.  Darcy’s book is independently published.  Read more about her work here (Part 1 and Part 2).

But until then, let’s celebrate.  Woot!  Woot!

–SueBE

March 6, 2014

Independent Publishing: Part 2 of an Interview with author/publisher Darcy Pattison

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:32 am
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Yestereday, I featured Part 1 of this interview with author/publisher Darcy Pattison.  Today, we finish this interview discussing first her houses list for Spring 2014.  With no further ado, here we go…

SueBE: What are Mim House’s Spring 2014 titles?  

Darcy Pattison:

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub (March, 2014) is another collaboration with illustrator Kitty Harvill. Her genius is to do almost museum-quality portraits of a specific individual animal. Nothing is generic in her work. This is another touching story from the wild to add to Wisdom’s story.

The Girl, the Gypsy & the Gargoyle (March, 2014) started when I read Michelangelo’s statement, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of a sculptor to discover it.” Perversely, I wondered if someone could be trapped in stone just for the purpose of being sculpted.

Saucy and Bubba: A Hansel and Gretel Tale (April, 2014 release) is about a step-family dealing with alcoholism and a brother/sister who run away from home.

Vagabonds is my American fantasy (May, 2014).  For decades, the southern states have witnessed the relentless migration of vagabonds from Mexico. They are now found as far north as the Ozarks of southern Missouri. No one knows why they keep traveling north, ever northward. Until now. In the tradition of Charlotte’s Web or The Underneath comes the American fantasy, VAGABONDS, the saga of El Garro’s armadillo colony, the scouts and pioneers who have always been at the forefront of the migration.

SueBE:  What do you have to say to writers who see independent publishing as a short cut?

Darcy Pattison: 

Publishing independently means you are a small business. In the U.S., most small businesses take a minimum of three years to turn a profit and during that time, the business-person works hard. Very hard. Why would you think being an independent publisher is any different? You must write, produce and market stories that someone will want to read. You must develop or hire out skills to edit and produce the story. You must find audiences who want to read what you write and find ways to get the word out to them on a consistent basis that a new story is available. Indie publishing is hard work, with no guarantees that it will succeed.

My long experience in traditional publishing grounded me in the need for the highest quality work. You must learn that somewhere and the marketplace is a harsh place to learn it. There are no shortcuts for learning to write well. It’s a profession with a long apprenticeship. Only after you’ve mastered writing skills should you attempt this.

SueBE:  What have you been able to do as an independent author that you were unable to do when you were publishing traditionally?

Darcy Pattison:

Publish books that I believe in. Market flexibility to put the right book in the hands of the right reader.

Both are curses and blessings, depending on the day you ask me.

SueBE:  Would you ever consider traditionally publishing again?  If so, under what circumstances?  If not, why not?

Darcy Pattison:

Maybe. If my health declined and I wanted an easy buck. If I was offered a large enough advance and had input into marketing. Never say, “Never.” But for now, I am Indie. (Hear me roar!)

SueBE:  What have you learned that you wished you knew when you started publishing on your own?

Darcy Pattison:

Marketing. I wish I had worked twenty years somewhere in marketing, because while the Internet sounds perfect for this, it’s not easy. I have had to learn so many concepts and principles that are foreign to my basic skills of plotting, characterization, pacing and so on. Writing, I can do. Marketing is always a struggle.

Check back with me in three years and I’ll tell you if this small business has made it or not!

SueBE:  What’s next for Mims House?

Darcy Pattison: We have a full publishing schedule for the next few years (mimshouse.com). And we are moving into audio books. By summer, all our spring novels listed above will be available on Audible/Amazon in an audio format. Come and read an Indie! Sign up for our newsletter at MimsHouse.com

 

SueBE:  Special thanks to Darcy for taking the time to answer my questions.  If you have any questions for Darcy, be sure to ask them below.

 

March 5, 2014

Independent Publishing: Part 1 of an Interview with author/publisher Darcy Pattison

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:23 am
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Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy PattisonI’ve got a special treat for everyone today.  I interviewed my long-time writing friend Darcy Pattison about her decision to publish independently (what, until now, I’ve called self-publishing.  Her journey involved Print-on-Demand and electronic sales and so much more.  In fact, she had so much to say on the topic that we will be discussing it for two days.  With no further ado, here we go…

SueBE: When and why did you start independently publishing?   

Darcy Pattison:  

2008: First lesson: POD Publishing can be successful even without blockbuster sales.

I started teaching a Novel Revision Retreat (darcypattison.com/speaking) around the U.S. in 1999, and by 2008, the workbook for the retreat was substantial enough that retreat coordinators didn’t want to print it off. After investigating, I decided to publish the workbook, NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: UNCOMMON WAYS TO REVISE, using print-on-demand (POD) technology. The workbook has been a steady seller because I had a built-in audience from my retreats.

It just made sense to publish this one myself. Think about it: if 10,000 people decide to write a novel, perhaps 1000 finish. Of those 1000, perhaps 100 will actually do a revision. That means the audience for beginning writers is 10,000, while the audience for the advanced writer who revises is only 100. Big companies like Writer’s Digest can’t make enough money to support a book about revision. But publishing it myself meant that I didn’t have to have thousands of sales to make money; it was successful for me with fewer sales because I had cut out the middle-man, the publisher.

SueBE:  This workbook is my favorite revision tool and I know you are doing other books for writers, like How to Write a Children’s Picture Book and The Book Trailer Manual.  But how did you move into publishing children’s books?

Darcy Pattison:

2011: Second lesson: It’s an easy step from nonfiction, how-to-write books to full color children’s picture books.

For three years, I learned many skills to produce a great book in POD or ebook. But I didn’t want to move into children’s picture books because of the color issues and the marketing issues. Then, I won a contest.

To promote the movie for “The Help,” a children’s story contest was announced. I took a story that had been rejected, but I still loved and submitted. I won. It’s the only contest I ever entered and the only one I ever won.

The prize was professional illustrations. Now I ask you: what are you supposed to do with color illustrations? The answer was obvious: produce a full-color children’s picture book. I created 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph . It’s the story of a girl whose military father must go overseas for a year. She decides that while he’s away, it is NOT a family photo album and she ruins every family photo until he gets back.  The skills I had learned in producing nonfiction how-to-write books transferred easily to children’s picture books. I am proud of this book, but I did little promotion for it and it has had modest sales.

2012: Third lesson: I can produce quality books.

Still I was just dabbling in indie publishing and I wasn’t whole-heartedly committed. Here’s the question: what do you do with a story that you believe in, but can’t get an editor interested in publishing?

In March, 2011, news of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami devastated the world. I searched for and found an amazing story of survival. The oldest bird in the world, banded since December 10, 1956, is Wisdom, a Laysan albatross on Midway Island. She survived the tsunami. Within six weeks of the disaster, I had contacted biologist on Midway, researched her life and written a story. But I could not find a buyer. An illustrator friend, Kitty Harvill — who had several highly recognized picture books to her credit—read the story and we agreed to publish the book together.

WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disaster for over 60 Years won the Writer’s Digest Self-Published award for children’s picture books, a Next-Gen Honor award for children’s nonfiction picture books and a Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly.

It was the Starred Review that floored me. My traditionally published books have received starred reviews from Kirkus and BCCB, but I’d never gotten a PW star.

Publishing a quality picture book that found acclaim in the traditional marketplace was amazing. And it sold, even matching or outselling some of my other picture books. And because there’s no middle man of a publisher, I receive a larger percentage of the profits to split with the illustrator.

SueBE:  A lot of writers see independent publishing as a way to maintain complete control over their books.  What is your take on this?  

Darcy Pattison:

Indie publishing isn’t about “creative control,” at least not in the way many people understand that term. It’s not about making sure a character has a white hat on page twelve. Rather, it’s about choosing what books to take to market. It’s not about putting books “out there.”  Instead, it’s about putting the right books in the hands of the right readers.

I took time to look over the stories I had written, evaluating them as a traditional publisher would. I don’t write blockbuster stories; instead, I write odd and quirky stories. Independent publishing was right for me because I had an independent, slightly rebellious slant on stories. An independent voice needs an indie way to publish, I decided.

SueBE again:  Stay tuned tomorrow for more from Darcy including her list of spring, 2014 titles!

August 15, 2013

Review of Start Your Novel by Darcy Pattison

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:14 am
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COVER1725x2595If you are anything like me, coming up with an idea for a new story is easy.  Ideas are like sneezes.  They just happen.  Fleshing it out?  That takes a bit more work.  Getting it all right?  That’s even more work.  Whatever your problem area is, it is covered in Darcy Pattison’s latest how-to for writers, Start Your Novel: Six Winning Steps Toward a Compelling Opening Line, Scene and Chapter.

At only 98 pages, it is a lean volume.  I’m never interested in reading anything too long as an ebook which is how I received this volume.  That made this length just about perfect for me.   Chapters include:

  • Why Editors Focus on Page 1.  This chapter discusses problems that editors frequently spot on page 1 including too little or too much information or no opening scene.
  • STEP ONE: Clarify Your Idea.  An exploration of 29 different  plot templates and how each will shape your individual story idea.
  • STEP TWO: Review Your Skills.  This chapter is an overview of what is needed to do two things that are absolutely essential to writing a publishable novel — writing in scenes and writing with sensory details.
  • STEP THREE: Plan the Opening Chapter.  What an opening chapter needs to do as well as some of the most common mistakes in opening chapters.
  • STEP FOUR: Plan the Opening Line.  The first line can hook a reader or leave them cold. Pattison challenges writers to create  up to 12 different types of opening lines to see what each one has to offer for their particular project.
  • STEP FIVE: Now, Write!   A fairly self explanatory chapter, don’t you think?
  • STEP SIX: Revise.  Pattison takes the reader through a variety of potential problems including plotting issues, characterization and pacing.

As always, Pattison’s strengths are the numerous examples that she gives to illustrate plot templates, opening lines and more.  It isn’t enough to simply read Pattison’s book, she expects you to put it to use and she means now.  Do it and you’ll reap the benefits.

Believe me.  I know.

I didn’t intend to work through all of this since I was reading on the treadmill.  That said, I wrapped the book up with the idea for a new novel bubbling away in my brain.

I’m also looking forward to doing the opening lines exercise with my current work in progress.  For this particular middle grade, I’ve finally nailed the first chapter — I start with just enough information to create curiosity in the reader and empathy for my character instead of the pointless slam, bang action that previously made up my opening scene. That said, I’m sure my first sentence still needs work and I have the tools that I need to create a first sentence that is just as good as my new first chapter.

Although mine is a PDF for reviewers, paperbacks of Pattison’s book can be purchased through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com.  If you prefer an ebook, you can pick up a copy for the Kindle at Amazon, the Nook at B&N or Kobo format.  Pattison will give you the tools you need to address whatever problem you have in creating the best possible opening for your story.

–SueBE

November 7, 2012

News from the Missouri SCBWI Conference — My critique with Emma Dryden

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:03 am
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One of the features of the conference that I took advantage of was the critique with freelance editor Emma Dryden.  The manuscript that I submitted, Rat Race, is the same one that I workshop-ed during the retreat with Darcy Pattison.

At first, Emma focused on my synopsis and cover letter which makes sense.  After all, these are the pieces that will give some editor or agent a first impression of my work.  She liked the story a lot but also pointed out something that I had discovered on the retreat.  I need to include more narrative, especially description.  She liked how I dropped a few important terms and then forced the reader to continue on to find out exactly what they were.  Unfortunately, I may have waited just a bit long.

We also chatted about the fact that my character feels young.  This didn’t completely surprise me.  He’s supposed to be 12.  The manuscript, after all, says so.  But the night before when noodling over the story, I had mentally referred to him as 10.  “No, he’s 11.  I mean 12.”

Snot.

Actually, the story will work with him at 11 so that isn’t horrifying.  Part of what brings it down, in terms of age, is the age of the antagonist.  His kid sister is only 6.  Then Emma lobbed something big at me (this is a paraphrase).  “This just now came to me, but why don’t you make his sister his twin?”

Twin.

The same age.

10 or 11.

That would pull the age back up a bit, easily to 11.  It would also increase the tension.  He’s now being tormented by a peer.  And she’d have to do slightly different things to him, but they could be much sneakier, much more evil.  She could be one of the mean girls.

And so went my brain for the rest of the day.  Sure, I looked like I was paying attention, but what I was really doing was noodling.  What exactly will this mean for my story?  I don’t have to do it, but will it make for a stronger story?

I think the answer might just be yes.

–SueBE

 

October 23, 2012

Three Ways to Take Stock of Your Manuscript

Please forgive the slanted angle as I try to dodge a table, a wall, a rocker and a cat!

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a firm believer in rewriting.  No manuscript is perfect straight out of your mind, and a rewrite helps you take it from what you got on paper to something closer to what you meant to get on paper.  To do this, you need to have a good idea of what you actually accomplished.

In her book, Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise, the first thing that Darcy Pattison does is help you take stock of what is actually written, not the novel you think you wrote but then one that you actually have.  She takes you through three different ways to do this.  In the first, you create a chapter by chapter list.  On one line you write the main action of the chapter.  On another, you write the main emotion.

I’ve seen this second method before but it’s a good one, using a spread sheet.  This is a little more flexible because it is up to you what spread sheet columns you create.  Possibilities might include setting, character, plot point, or emotion.  Using a spread sheet let’s you sort by column, checking out how often a particular element comes into play.

Perhaps because I am so visual, Darcy’s third method is my favorite — the shrunken manuscript.  In a shrunken manuscript, you reduce the font and format the manuscript single-spaced.  The goal is to be able to mark up the manuscript (what you mark depending on what you need study) and then lay the whole thing out n the floor.  You want to be able to see the whole manuscript at once.  My manuscript came out at just over 20 pages.  This time around, I was checking for two things.

The first is dialogue, both the proportion to the manuscript as a whole but to also make sure that other characters don’t take over.  My main character is more action oriented than verbal while his best friend is more of a chatter box.  I can’t let the best friend take the lead because, simply put, he isn’t the lead.  As has been pointed out to me by my son, adults also have a tendency to drone on and on.  I want to make certain that Mom and the swim coach don’t stall things out indefinitely.  In the photo, I’ve marked the dialog with a different color for each character.  These marks are in the left margin of the manuscript.  The inventory helped me see what I did right and what I still need to work out but we’ll discuss that tomorrow.

Secondly, and I haven’t done this yet but will before I write Thursday’s post, I’m going to take an emotional inventory.  Using the same colors that I used for dialogue, I’m going to record where each character is emotionally at the beginning of the chapter.  Then I’m going to record where they are emotionally at the end of the chapter.  Obviously, this will only apply to the characters who are in each scene.  What did I find out here?  Because I haven’t actually done it yet, I’ll let you know on Thursday.

How do you take stock of your manuscript before you begin a rewrite?  Is this something you even attempt?

–SueBE

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