Dummying is a really depressing—I mean helpful, exercise. As I wrote my story down I came to some quick realizations:
Some portions of the story do not have a definite page break.
Some parts are too long.
Some parts don’t have a good feature to illustrate.
Some parts just suck.
So, I’ve cut, added, and restructured. I hope the manuscript is the better for it, but I do miss some of the parts I had to cut. Many of them were my favorite scene set-ups—I’ll have to leave that for the illustrator. And I’ll tuck those lines away. Maybe I’ll find a use for them someday.
I have to admit, I don’t dummy often; only once that I can remember. Sometimes I do a rough numbering of paragraphs to see where I’m at, but after this I’m going to have to dummy every picture book I write. It really gave me a good perspective on what I need to do to make a salable manuscript.
I think I may even experiment with writing in dummy form. I’ll be forced to create a page turn from the start, make scenes more even and uniquely illustratable, and, of course, I’ll try to make things not suck. Who knows? I just might work a little faster and hopefully a little better.