Welcome to my blog! Please join me as I journey towards finding an agent for my first young adult novel. Between writing, endless snapping of photos, sleep deprivation, taking care of two adorable little girls, and oh yes, the laundry, I'm sure it's going to be a bit crazy on the way to the awaited publication.

I'm open to any tips, critique, or random musings about the things I write or the photos I take, so feel free to email me or comment below.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Amazing "Shrunken Manuscript"

So... here is a picture of my full manuscript. Yes that's correct, look again. All 21 chapters of it.  Did I mention that I managed to squeeze 80,000 words on 29 pages? Of course I can only read it if I squint my eyes or look through a magnifying glass.

So the reason I did this, I wanted to get a feel for the flow of my book as well as how lengthy the chapters are compared to each other. I read the excellent idea from a Wow! Women on Writing article.

Each page is one chapter, 5pt and single spaced. As you can see, there are a couple of really long chapters and I haven't quite decided what to do yet. Do I lengthen the shorter ones or shorten the lengthy ones?  I've already chopped out over 14,500 words over the last couple of weeks. (and trust me, that completely freaked me out)

Printing the book this way also gave me the "Big Picture" view of my book and the flow. I've marked where the action parts are so I can check the pace and structure. Other things I'm planning on marking are:

- Dialog
- Action
- Interactions between the main characters
- Settings

Shrinking the whole book and printing it this way gave me such gratification to see all of my words at once. Looking at it this way doesn't seem like it really has 80,000 words, but it's still cool to see it. I highly recommend it!

Warning: Do not leave pages on the floor overnight due to a four year old who may use this as an opportunity for a dry slip & slide. (Good thing I had taken the photo beforehand!)

So tell me, do you think this sounds like something you'll try or have you actually done it before? Did it help?


  1. Hello fellow campaigner! ;) Thanks for stopping by my blog. You've been tagged, by the way.

    I just bought a ton of paper to print out my manuscript and I'm totally stealing this idea. With it in Microsoft Word, I zoom out until it looks like your layout, but I hate having to zoom in to mark it. So all I need now is a magnifying glass and a red pen.

  2. What an interesting technique! I might just have to try it.

    But I think the 1st step is having an 80k manuscript in the 1st place...

  3. When I first read about the technique, I was pretty skeptical. But after printing it and laying it all out on the floor, it really helped to get a big picture of everything. Glad I did it. :)

  4. Hi there, YA-Campaigner-Buddy!

    THIS IS SO COOL. Wow! I'm very, very tempted to try this, especially as my novel is also almost exactly 80,000 words. :-) I've been trying for ages to find a hands-on method of editing that involved laying things out like this, but I've never really been able to make notecards or post-its work for me. This seems like it really could work, though. Thanks for sharing the idea!

  5. That's actually a really cool idea!

  6. This image nearly made me cry happy tears! So beautiful and enticing....wow! Happy to be in your campaign group!

  7. Thanks Jodi! Trust me, I almost cried too. :)

  8. I would ABSOLUTELY do this when I'm done with my first draft...since I've just started writing - this tip gives me a GREAT place to start.
    thanks SO much!

  9. You're welcome! Glad I can help. :)

  10. I've also found that the best way for me to get a feel for the work that I've done is to print things out. I don't have a full manuscript to play with just yet, but I've printed out drafts of chapters here and there. It's so much easier to edit and dig into a story with a hardcopy.

  11. Wow, that is really cool - you're right, you can definitely get a good feel for the different chapter lengths and so forth when you do that. I may just have to steal this idea! :-)

  12. I prefer editing with a piece of paper in my hand rather than on a computer screen, but my manuscript is still approximately 500 pages long so I've never printed it out! Never thought about decreasing the font size...hmmm...good idea! I might have to try that once I've got the word count down.