Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Revision, Stage No. 1 (with pictures!!)

So I've decided (realized?) that revision, with any method you use, comes in three basic stages: Identifying Problems, Figuring out what to Do with those Problems, and, finally, Fixing those Problems. Last night I successfully completed my initial read-through of Seer, hi-lighters, spreadsheet, and shrunken manuscript in tow, and have identified a heck of a lot of problems (though thankfully I found as much cause for hope as despair).

I really found the hi-lighter method, the shrunken manuscript, and the scene-list-spreadsheet to be immensely useful in assessing what I've got to work with and in pointing out my problem areas (of which there are many), and found myself jotting down notes for each chapter and ideas of how to fix/change/rework things. Hopefully this will make the transition to the much harder and not-quite-as-much-fun revision stages two and three. I'll let you know.

And without further ado, I give you my 70,000 word novel in glorious shrunken form:

Close up:
I marked POV (green for Braise and purple for Iria), Parts that were Interesting and Awesome (orange stripes), and any scene I really really really liked got a heart sticker (or two or three). As you can see, there are LOTS of spots missing orange stripes and hearts. This is, of course, Not Good, and one of the main things I'll be working on fixing!!

Here's a closer-up on one of the pages (I had to do the dual column thing to make everything fit):

Here's a manuscript page, complete with hi-lighting and scribbled notes:

 I was getting into quite a little system: orange to keep track of any world-building/room description/character description details; blue for anything having to do with the enigmatic Ethereal Plane; yellow for repetitious type stuff; pink for anything that was either not working or was inconsistent; and purple and green, respectively, for tracking certain phrases in my two MCs' voices. Quite an excellent way of gathering information! Here's hoping I can make good use of it...

On to Stage Two!!

 Me 'n the Shrunken Manuscript


silent_librarian said...

I love this! You are so organized and I bet it makes the revision process at least easier in the sense of being able to identify. However, yes, there is the fixing part of it. ;-)

Even though there are a lot of non-orange stripes, I think there are a lot in context of the fact this is your first draft. That is awesome!

Anyway, this looks like SO much fun! Playing with highlighters sounds great too! Hehe!

Joanna R. Smith said...

Multi-colored hi-lighters are THE BEST. I think they would make anything more fun. :-)

C.R. Evers said...

wow! I bow to your shrunken method. I'm in awe! You go girl!

Christy (by way of Verla Kay)

Joanna R. Smith said...

Thanks, Christy!

Elana Johnson said...

Wow! I'm so impressed by this. I think this is a great way to revise, and I'm going to try it next time I have a first draft ready to look at.

Joanna R. Smith said...

Elana, it's such a fun and revelatory technique! Hope it works for you, too. :-)

ddpattison said...

Glad you like my Shrunken Manuscript technique! It is amazing what you can see when everything is condensed.

You can see the original post here:

Totally love the pics--it helps others understand what the process can do for the revision of your novel.

Darcy Pattison

Joanna R. Smith said...

Darcy, Thanks so much for stopping by, I'm honored! Definitely planning on applying the Shrunken Manuscript technique to my other drafts in need of revision——it certainly points out all the problem areas in a hurry!! Thanks for sharing it with us!