|early sketch of my main character, Trent|
All month long, I've been working on the editorial notes for my next YA book, MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH. Every time I finish a revision, it's a challenge to "see" the story with new eyes. One of my favorite tricks is Darcy Pattison's "shrunken manucript" (printing the entire book in a tiny font size and highlighting scenes/characters with specific colors). I also like to print my revised pages in a different font. It tricks my brain into looking at the words like it's the first time.
Recently, I learned another great technique. Jo Knowles (JUMPING OFF SWINGS) talks about using "storyboards" to map her chapters. This makes a lot of sense to me. When I start working on a new book, I always sketch the characters. As I doodle, I let my mind wander. It's a balancing act between the left and right brain--the analytical and creative energies that go into writing a book.
|storyboards for More Than Good Enough|
My fabulous agent, Tina Wexler, understands that I'm a "pantser". I don't usually write an outline before I plunge into a new manuscript. But she taught me another trick: I can tackle an outline after I've written the first draft...just to see if everything inside my head ends up on paper.
I love the process of revision, the way it teaches me:
–writing a new book means "going back to the beginning" (untwisting a set of knots)
–every manuscript is different. And that's okay.
–sometimes it helps to change your routine (writing at different times of the day, in a new place, or typing scenes out of order).
–It's all about finding what works for you.
As I get ready to turn in another revision, I'm a little sad to let it go. In a way, it feels like saying goodbye to old friends. But here's the truth:
The new friends on the page, waiting to be discovered.