Friday, March 26, 2010

What the heck is a shrunken manuscript?

Our lake opened up today! It's so exciting to see the water after months of ice cover. It makes me want to grab my kayak! My dog is hoping I grab the canoe instead so she can come.

My editor likes the final revisions on Dogsled Dreams! So that part is finally done. Now I work with the designer. Then it goes to PDF, then the senior editor takes a gander, then I approve that. Lots of steps. Now I understand why it takes so long! I'm still waiting for the cover, stay tuned for that.

I celebrated the end of revisions for all of 20 seconds, then I started on my wip ICE DOGS. An agent asked me for a rewrite several months ago, but I discovered I could not work on both projects at the same time.

Joanna introduced me to something called the shrunken manuscript technique. It involves smooshing your entire story together into 30 pages using itty-bitty font size. Then I marked the heart-pounding scenes. It's a very cool technique to take a look at the big picture. Now I know I need to cut some of the beginning to start more in the action. You can also see how much dialogue you have this way. I'm going to use colour markers to highlight scenes with different characters too.

38 comments:

Anna said...

That's so exciting that your editor liked the final revisions. Yay! How funny that we both posted about the shrunken manuscript technique today. I can't wait to try it and see the manuscript all spread out in front of me. Happy revising!

Joanna R. Smith said...

Thanks for the shout-out! Hooray for the shrunken manuscript, it certainly points out where the problems are. :-) Good luck with those revisions!!

David J. West said...

I had never heard of that before-I suppose it depends on your word count.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is a new one for me. Sounds like a great idea. Will have to try it. Thanks, Terry.

Bev

Laura Pauling said...

You must be excited to jump into revisions! Good luck with them. And the shrunken manuscript is one idea I haven't heard of yet. :)

Jamie D. said...

Add me to the "never heard of that" club...sounds interesting, I'll check it out!

And my, what a beautiful day there. Many congrats on the final revisions being done! Woot! :-)

Heather Kelly said...

I saw this over at Anna's blog, and am SO EXCITED to try it. I'm going to use jewels and glitter. And, it sounds like things are moving along wonderfully with Dogsled Dreams!

My name is PJ. said...

Excitement and more work! That is a sign of success though, right? The tiny font trick is interesting.

Janet said...

Sounds like you are moving right along with your manuscript. I am anxious to start revisions on my story, but I guess I need to be more patient, but patience is not something that I'm blessed with. Your lake is beautiful!

Catherine A. Winn said...

Congratulations on completing final edits! Hooray!

"Shrunken Manuscript" is a great idea--I think I'll try it myself! Good luck tackling the new one.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Anna, I know, great minds...

Joanna, thanks for the great link to this new technique

David, this works for most normal length ms.

Beverly, it's neat to see the whole thing spread out.

Laura, I'm mostly nervous doing revisions, I don't want to wreck it!

Jamie, thanks!

Heather, jewels and glitter sound like fun!

Janet, when you get it back covered in red, you'll think "I was looking forward to this?" but it does get done eventually.

PJ, I'm thinking I'll always be working, so may as well enjoy it.

Catherine, Thank you! and thanks for stopping by!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow - very cool idea! I love it.

Congrats on your edits being done. Woo-hoo! :-)

Katie Ganshert said...

I've never heard of the shrunked manuscript. How cool is that?

Jemi Fraser said...

Gorgeous photos of your lake!!

I've never heard of this technique, but it's a great one :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Congrats!

I attended Darcy Pattison's revision retreat last fall. Each of us were to bring a shrunken manuscript to work with. It was so helpful to see the story spread out, marked here and there with different symbols and colors. A great visual to see how things are working overall.

PJ Hoover said...

I have yet to try this, but really need to one of these days.

Barrie said...

I've never heard of this shrunken ms technique! Very interesting. And congrats on your editor liking your final revisions!

Erica Chapman said...

Interesting stuff - and yay on the revisions being done!! Woo Hoo! OMG you live in that pic? It's gorgeous. Lucky ;o)

Dolly said...

Oh my god - where do you live? It's such a gorgeous place! Ah to live by the lake.

Shrunken manuscript technique sounds very useful. I will check it out. Thanks for posting about it. :-))

Christina Farley said...

Very interesting! I love this idea. I'll have to try it out.

Carl said...

Terry

Is Dogsled Dreams aimed at the MG or YA audience?

Sarah said...

So glad to hear your editor liked the final revisions. And I love the idea of a shrunken manuscript. I'm wondering how I could do something similar with a full blown novel...

out of the wordwork said...

Wow! I have to try that technique. Just looking at your manuscript laid out like that was impressive. Sounds like your book is really moving along in the process and I can't wait to see your cover!!
Nelsa

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never tried that!

And grab the canoe so your dog can tag along.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Whew! the comments! Awesome. Few answers:

Dogsled Dreams is my debut novel that is being released in January. It's a middle grade novel about a girl who wants to run a race. I can't wait for the cover!

Ice Dogs is my young adult manuscript that I've had an agent ask for a rewrite on. It's about a completely different girl and her dogteam who gets lost in the bush with a dude with a secret. It's a survival story.

Ice Dogs is what I had spread out across the floor. I'm still currently staring at it - a little stuck but hopeful that my muse will come visit me later.

Mindy said...

I just read about the " Shrunken Manuscript" idea. I think I now found a useful tactic to revise my manuscript that I actually like so thank you Terry for sharing that info with us!

Medeia Sharif said...

I've never heard of the shrunken manuscript before. It sounds like a great way to also analyze the pacing.

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm back. I left a blog award for you on my blog.
http://sharifwrites.blogspot.com

Tess said...

How fun to meet another debut author, and I see from your sidebar that you know my friend Amy A Cook who helped form the indie debut logo. Small world :) thanks for stopping by my blog .. look forward to knowing more about your writing and maybe sharing some of this journey together!

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh my gosh, that is the coolest idea EVER. We are definitely going to try this!

jdcoughlin said...

I've never heard of the Shrunken Manuscript. I am so going to check that out. It sure beats flipping around for hours trying to get to the heart of things. Thanks for the tip. So going over there!

Elana Johnson said...

Holy cow!! 30 pages? That's amazing. I might need to try that. I'm going over to Joanna's blog to check it out right now.

And your lake is beautiful!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm like you -- I can only work on one thing at a time. Have fun with the new WIP. The shot of the lake is gorgeous!

beth said...

I've seen this before, but never tried it...very cool idea!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

oh! im loving this - must go try!

Tara McClendon said...

Wow! I'd be excited about seeing the water too if I lived in an area with so much snow. And the shrunken manuscript is a great idea. I'll have to try it on my current WIP once I finish my current round of revisions.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

What a wonderful blog! I'm so glad that I finally found it. And the shrunken manuscript--what a great idea. I'll have to try this. Thanks!!!

elizabeth mueller said...

OOoh, Terry--what an exciting way to pinpoint the highs v whites! Thanks for sharing this technique with us! ;)