I'm trying Darcy Pattison's Shrunken Manscript technique for the first time on my novel, Chasing Home. You can read about the technique at Darcy's website here. The cliff notes version is that you remove page breaks, decrease font size and margins, and try to shrink the manuscript to about 30 pages. Then, you highlight anything you want to see in the manuscript. For instance, I want to be sure two themes are running consistently throughout the story so I highlighted every instance of each in different colors. My antagonist and his bully actions received a different color. I colored a particular characterization attribute for my MC, and any symbolism.
Then, I spread out the pages on the floor so I could track the colors throughout the manuscript and I learned so much! First, I was pleasantly surprised my themes carried fairly consistently throughout.
However, my antagonist's behavior showed up too frequently so I'll need to scale that back. Finally, I learned it is best to do this exercise without help from my puppy.
This blog shares insights on the craft of writing children's books and the publishing industry, and supports creators and educators on their journeys.