Hot Potato: Let that Manuscript Cool Off

Darcy, sporting slightly askew Grammar Witch Glasses.

You type, “The End.” Then, you write a fast letter to an editor and send off a couple sample chapters. Oops! You forgot one thing. That manuscript needs to cool off before you send it out. It is the single, hardest thing for me to do. I do not want to wait and besides that, […]

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FN 001: Shrunken Manuscript – 6 Ways to See Your Manuscript

Novel Metamorphosis: UnCommon Ways to Revise

Welcome to the first Fiction Notes Podcast, where you’ll learn six ways to use the Shrunken Manuscript. I teach a novel revision retreat; in order to attend, you must have a complete draft of a novel and we spend the weekend talking about how to revise that manuscript. The workbook for that is Novel Metamorphosis: […]

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Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise


Congratulations! You’ve finished the first draft of a novel. What an accomplishment! But now what? THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL NOVELS: Revise “I didn’t realize I didn’t know anything about revising until I took Darcy’s Novel Revision Retreat. I finally “got it” that reworking a manuscript is not revising. To revise something means to re-vision it, […]

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Uma Krishnaswami: Shrunken Manuscript


My Novel Revision Retreats rely heavily upon the Shrunken Manuscript technique. Basically, you use the magic of word processors to shrink the font of the mss until you can see the big picture of the story. Uma Krishnaswami used a variation of the technique in revising her new novel. Here’s a look at Uma’s writing […]

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Carole Estby Dagg 2K11


Carole Estby Dagg debuts with THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS Introduced first in 2007, debut children’s authors have formed a cooperative effort to market their books. I featured Revision Stories from the Classes of 2k8 and 2k9 and this feature returns this year with the Class of 2k11. Class of 2008 Class of 2009 MORE […]

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Shrunken Picture Book

Shrunken Picture Books, Photo by Rita

How I Shrunk my Picture Book Manuscript – and Why I’ll Do It Again! by Lee Wind At a schmooze of the SCBWI Tri-Regions of Southern California, discussion ranged far and wide, pulling info and tips from many sources. Lee Wind showed a shrunken manuscript of a picture book, complete with glitter, colors and stickers. […]

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Revisions Take Time

Shrunken Manuscript

Take Time to Revise Jim Danielson, who attended last weekend’s Illinois retreat, has also posted a picture of a shrunken manuscript. Here are other links for the Shrunken Manuscript technique: Instructions for the Shrunken Manuscript Technique Shrunken manuscript v. Spreadsheet plotting Intensive feedback, like you get in a weekend retreat, can be overwhelming and after […]

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A Washington Voice Retreat

Western Washington SCBWI Retreat: Voice The retreat was great. There were about 40-45 people there and they were split into two groups. Group A came to me, while Group B went to Patti Gauch, then we swapped for the same presentation again. I sorta knew how Patti would approach voice (and I might have done […]

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3 NaNoWriMo Tips to Make Revision Easier

NaNoWriMo is in full swing! That means over 50,000 writers are slugging out 50,000 words, working on the first draft of a novel, in the 30 days of November. But I’m thinking ahead to December when that first rough draft needs revision. Here are 3 things to keep in mind as you’re writing that first […]

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Surprise Yourself in the First Draft

I’m working on the first draft of a novel and I’m about 2/3 of the way through the plot, when something interesting happened. Embrace Exploration I’m at a point where the E, the main character, is house bound for a couple days and suddenly M, his friend, becomes the legs of the story, the only […]

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An Apt Phrase

When I’m writing or revising a novel, one of the fun games I like to play is the search for an apt phrase. An Apt Phrase Lately, I’ve been listening to recorded books of Rex Stout’s classic detective series about Nero Wolfe, the overweight, orchid enthusiast. His sidekick, Archie Goodwin, tells the story and does […]

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Kristin O’Donnell Tubb: Class of 2k8

Updated Post: When Kristin Tubb sold her novel last year, she wrote the following about the revision process. Then, Kristin joined the 2k8 marketing efforts and encouraged many of them to guest blog their revision stories this year; it’s been fun hearing their stories. Finally, Kristin’s own book is released this month. So, I’m updating […]

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5 Resources for First Drafts of Novels

Need help on the first draft of your novel? Here are some great resources. Planning or Outlining: Many revision techniques found here can also be invention techniques for those first drafts. As I’m working on my first draft of a new novel, I’m finding that many of the same techniques are helpful. For example, spreadsheet […]

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Shrunken Manuscript v. Spreadsheet Plotting

There are two good ways to look at the overall shape of a manuscript: the shrunken manuscript and spreadsheet plotting. Also see More Shrunken Manuscripts. When do you use which? Both are ways of compressing information into a manageable format. The main difference is that the shrunken manuscript is more visual, while the spreadsheet plotting […]

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Spreadsheet plotting

Note: This technique was recommended by several readers and after I’ve tried it, I’m a convert! Thanks for the suggestions! Some writers like to keep a running inventory of their story by doing Spreadsheet Plotting. Choose your favorite spreadsheet program and open it. I totally ignore the line numbers at the left. Choose any line […]

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