Use Darcy Pattison’s Shrunken Manuscript Technique to Understand the Structure, Plot and Impact of Your Novel

May 3, 2016 | Novels

Writing a great scene is easy. A novel, however, adds layer after layer of complexity until it’s hard to keep everything straight. What novelists need is a simple way to take the abstract and make it visual. Writing teacher Darcy Pattison uses the “shrunken manuscript” technique to visualize a novel’s narrative arc, the emotional journey and much more. Caroline Starr Rose, writer of novels in verse such as May B. says, “Darcy Pattison’s Shrunken Manuscript technique pushed me to see my book in its entirety–what was working and what needed to change.”

The technique demands you print your manuscript at a tiny font which almost sounds ridiculous. You can’t read it! But at that level, you lose sight of the trees and get a birds-eye view of the forest. Kirby Larson, recipient of the 2007 Newbery Honor medal for Hattie Big Sky, says, “You are in good hands with Darcy, even when she asks you to print out your manuscript in 8-point font.”

Darcy presented a webinar for us about the shrunken manuscript, and you can watch it here:

If you’ve ever wanted to understand the overall structure, plot and impact of your novel, the “shrunken manuscript” technique is your answer.

Thank you to our faculty for this Guest Post!

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