Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Dummy's Dummy

I'm revising a picture book that I've probably revised 692 times already. It has lots of moving parts, so to speak. Characters doing things. Things doing things. I can't really elaborate (although I would love to blab on and on about it!)

Anyway, I have the scenes and most of the dialogue. It's the order that I keep messing around with. I need to get the build up right. I want the tension in the story to keep going up like a mountainside until the climax and boom! wrap it up with that satisfying ending. I have never written a story before where the scenes feel so interchangeable as they do in this one, and I was getting a little sick of writing the same things down and cutting and pasting and all of that moving around until I came up with a good way to play with my pages.

It's stupidly simple but I'm procrastinating on revisions so humor me.

I took some sheets of paper, folded them, and tore them into fourths. (You could get all fancy and measure and cut them if you like. You could even use those snazzy scissors with the shaped edges. Oooh la la.--I can enable procrastination like a boss!)

Picture books are generally 32 pages so I am using 15 pieces of paper, looking at each as a two page spread, leaving a couple of pages for title, pub info, and such.

I hand wrote each page's words on a separate piece of paper. (Picture books are short, so you can make all your words fit. You could also actually just use bigger pieces of paper but I like ripping paper and I'm lazy so that's the way I'm doing it.) This can take some time but it also helps you go through your words again and see if they are working. Plus it helps with procrastination you find your way to your vision if you write things really fancy and draw little pictures to go with it.

Done? *makes cookies
How about now? *watches an episode of Regular Show
Now? *checks watch
Ahem. *eats cookies...lots of cookies.

Okay... finally. You did it! Now you can move your pages around easily. 
You can also crumple them up and rewrite something but it's not a big deal because it's just on a little piece of paper! Amazing, I tell ya! And environmentally friendly--sort of. I'm calling it the dummy's dummy.

Okay kids, have fun with my *cough cough* brilliant idea. I've gotta go back to figuring this story out. I think I may try the throw it up in the air and see how it pans out when it lands method.


  1. That's a lot of revisions, Heather, but that's a good thing! You sound a bit like me. Lots of revisions, shredding of paper rather than cutting with scissors...ooh...cookies! That's pretty much my process too. A dummy's dummy- I like that. :)

  2. It definitely is Romelle! ;)
    Glad to hear I'm not the only one who likes to get messy with revisions.