Forest Landscape II,
oil on paper, c. 1935.
When I first read Donald Maass's revision advice, from, I think, Writing the Breakout Novel, to print out your manuscript and heave it on the floor, I admit I was horrified.
My floor, you see. I might never find it all again.
But his revision recommendation in terms of random pages is, as usual, excellent.
An MS page seen in isolation, separate from the splendid panorama of the forest, may reveal a lot of deadwood, racoon squat, poison ivy and forest litter.
Awkward constructions, unintentional repetitions, verb disagreement, abandoned themes.
Stuff you might have ignored because your eyes were on the forest, not the trees.
This method, in turn, allows one to concentrate on another excellent piece of advice (probably also from Maass) -- to make sure each and every page contains something special for the reader: an insight, a line of exquisite description, witty or illuminating dialogue, a bit of shock 'n awe, whatever -- to carry them forward, to sustain their interest in the unfolding tale.
Give them flowers, unusual plants, an inukshuk, wolf's bane, creeping sounds in the undergrowth, pug marks, a blaze slashed, runes in the bark.
No dull deadfalls to make them go back and take another trail.
I still shudder at the idea of a snow storm of pages in wheee! abandon, but I do print out haphazard single pages and try to make them better.