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 her posting with cover illustrations and adding the 2k8 gang at the end. Congratulations, Kristin!
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb: Class of 2k8
AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT had racked up a number of rejections since I started submitting it in 2005. Then I attended Darcy’s Novel Revision Workshop in July 2006. I revamped the entire story using the techniques Darcy taught. The very first editor who read the revised manuscript bought the book.
The technique that I particularly adore is Darcy’s “Shrunken Manuscript” exercise. If you are a visual learner (like myself), this technique allows you to visualize your narrative arc. Darcy described it an interview with Cynthia Leitich-Smith: “Basically, you single-space a manuscript and then shrink the manuscript to a small font and print it out. This allows you to mark and see the overall structure of a long story like a novel.” (See complete instructions here.)
It’s so deceptively simple, you’ll wonder why you never tried this before. It’s so amazingly useful, you’ll wonder how you ever revised without it.
Shrunken Manuscripts Work Because. . .
In my case, AUTUMN shrinks down from a 140-page behemoth to a tidy 28 pages. I use my Shrunken Manuscript in every aspect of the revision process. When my editor asked me to flesh out my main character’s sister, I laid out my’ pages on the living room floor and highlighted all the scenes in which she appeared. Then, I highlighted all the scenes in which she could grace us with her presence (she’d be delighted to know we think of her in this way).
A pattern emerged, and the task of making Katie more Katie-ish was manageable and (dare I say it about the revision process?!) fun! It somehow feels easier to experiment with changes within the Shrunken Manuscript. Perhaps because you’re marking up 30 pages instead of 150. Perhaps because you’re moving that block of text two pages instead of 18. Perhaps because your words seem more disposable in 8-point font. Whatever the reason, I’m forever grateful to Darcy for sharing this technique. To her, I say: Thank you!
–About the book: Autumn Winifred Oliver has charmed a hive of bees, wrangled a flock of geese, and filched a stick of dynamite from the U.S. Government. But it?ll take a whole new kind of gumption to save her Cades Cove home. AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT is out NOW from Delacorte Press.
-About the author: Kristin O’Donnell Tubb has written a number of magazine articles and activity books for children. AUTUMN is her first novel. Please visit her at www.creativefreelancewriting.com.
Read more: Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise, the workbook from the Novel Revision retreat.
Read more about 2k8 authors
March: Jody Feldman
April: Zu Vincent
April: M.P. Barker
May: Sarah Prineas
June: Daphne Grab
July: N.A. Nelson
August: Laurel Snyder
September: Nancy Viau
October: Ellen Booraem
October: Kristin O’Donnel Tubb
October: P.J. Hoover
October: Courtney Sheinmel
November: Stacy Nyikos