back to the start

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.



  1. Great ideas on revision. I'm knee deep and want to try the tiny font idea. Also, super, super jealous you are a writer and ALSO fantastic artist. Get on with your bad self!

    1. Thank you so much! Sometimes it's hard to see the "big picture" when you're used to looking at pages on a computer screen. That's why I love the Shrunken Manuscript. Hope it is helpful to you! :)

  2. I've learned to be open--each book seems to have its own journey. My technique changes a bit with each WIP!

  3. There are great ideas, Crissa--especially the tiny font one. I will have to try that. The storyboard idea is intriguing too--unfortunately, I'd be lucky if I could draw stick figures!


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