Gift to self for Christmas

I’ve almost finished darkening my male protagonist in Paperweights (working title) at the request of the London editor.  I want the new shade of dark to have quite a dimensional effect on the manuscript and wondered how to best approach the next stage before I send it back.  So I referred back through Writer Unboxed ( to see what my fave Writing Master may think.  In 2007, when being interviewed by Therese Walsh, Donald Maass said the following:

T W : What’s your favorite exercise, the one you believe offers the most promise?

DM: The absolutely essential exercise that everyone should do, with every novel, is to toss the manuscript pages in the air and collect them again in random order. (The pages must be randomized or this won’t work.) Next, go through the manuscript page-by-page and on each page find one way to add tension. Now, that sounds easy enough but most people are quickly stymied. That is because they do not truly understand what tension means. In dialogue, it means disagreement. In action, it means not physical business but the inner anxiety of the point-of-view character. In exposition, it means ideas in conflict and emotions at war.

So here’s the plan.  It’s pretty obvious that in the next ten days there won’t be much writing or critical reading and editing done, what with the last minute dash to get everything seasonal done by the night before Christmas.  Thus on Christmas Day I plan to get up, get hold of the ms and toss it in the air, let it fall wherever, pick it up and bunch it together again and try to accomplish exactly what Donald Maass is talking about.  It could just be the best present I could give myself.

Note to blog friends: Look in next week to get your Christmas present, it will be wrapped and under the tree.