I used 8-point Arabic Typesetting which shrunk my 61,000 word manuscript to 52 pages. I know I’m supposed to shrink it to 30 pages, and 52 > 30, but it was the best I could do.
I assigned each major character a color and made a big colored square around every scene involving that character. Obviously, some scenes have more than one color. I shouldn't have used highlighters because:
1. The yellow and the green are too similar. (Ruth, if you’re reading this, I know you’re feeling my pain.)
2. I didn’t have enough colors.
3. After I’d used all the colors I realized I’d forgotten to give my protagonist a color. How could that happen? Poor Lia ended up with purple colored pencil which doesn’t show up in the photos.
I always prefer a quantitative approach to a qualitative one, so I devised a tension ranking scheme for scribbling on the micro manuscript.
At this point Sarah Miller suggests vacuuming. This I did, with enthusiasm. I even moved the furniture which resulted in a wide open space to display my 52 pages.
I spread out my manuscript and analyzed it. What did I learn?
1. Chapters 2-3 need work.
2. Chapters 6-7 sag a bit.
3. Chapters 19-25 could use tightening.
Stripes (horizontal lines) – 100% of the pages
Checks (horizontal + vertical) – 15% of the pages
Plaid (horizontal + vertical + diagonal) – 8% of the pages
Next time, I’ll leave the chapter numbering in 12-point, so it will be easier to locate problems when the manuscript is spread on the floor.