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My 90-pound paperweight

The new book is off to the copy editor, but I'm still fussing with the flow.

So what I like to do is print out the entire manuscript with different colors representing the varying point-of-view characters, then arrange the whole thing, chapter-by-chapter.

It helps to visualize where I might be going a tad long with one narrative, and need to break things up. There's a directionality to the story, but finding the rhythm in how to tell it is equally important. (Phrase of the day: Order of Exposition).

And of course, Asia, my behemoth of a golden retriever likes to lend her editorial input.

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Reader Comments (7)

Have you considered using Scrivener, which would allow you to accomplish the same thing (arranging chapters visually) without going near the printer?

Anyway good luck with getting this next baby off the ground (or out from under the dog, in your case), whatever the method.
March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Newman Cronin
I like paper. I like the mess it makes. :)

Also, when I stack the manuscript, from the side I can see the strata of colors, which has a certain soothing aspect, which I can't do with Scrivener.
March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
Yes, understood! Like the difference between an ebook and the real thing, a totally different experience.
My problem with paper is once everything's printed out I get too caught up in the line edit/details and lose sight of the big picture. Scrivener is helping mightily with that.
I enjoy your blog!
March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Newman Cronin
This is an interesting way to look at things, Jamie. I hadn't thought of that before. As for the paperweight, isn't it funny how pets decide to superimpose themselves into/onto/around whatever activity you might be involved in? I have cats that love to lay on top of just washed (and dried) clothes. Just what you want after you clean your clothes - a bunch of cat hair.
March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Stallsworth
I like this approach - messy work is creative work. Helping paws don't hurt either.
March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJade
This book then you can buy in Hungary? I wonder if the "dog" book. : D What kind of theme? Fantasy? Sci-fi? Adventure? Or all three? Actually, I read a very long time been a good Sci-fi book. Douglas Adams was the last. Quite old already. www.konyv-konyvek.hu/book_images/96a/151322796a.jpg
March 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterboros1124
I also use Scrivener to organize some scenes, but when it comes to visualizing or making lists, I love paper and color-coordination. How did I never think of this?!

This reminds me a bit of the "shrunken manuscript" method. Have you heard of it? It's similar to what you do, except the writer shrinks the ms down to a tiny, tiny font to save paper and also to highlight different parts of the story (different POVs, parts that are lacking in tension or purpose, etc) so they can step back and see it from a bird's-eye view.

Maybe I'll try a combination of both. I like the idea of the different colors of paper, but wouldn't mind saving a sheet or two ;)
March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNatalia Sylvester

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