2 Amazing Ways To Revise Your Novel (And When To Use Them)

picture of woman pruningYou know you need to revise your novel, but where do you begin?

The complexity of a novel can be overwhelming.

50,000-150,000 words means you can’t keep everything in your head.

Flipping back and forth between hundreds of pages makes it hard to remember where you are. You can’t see the story’s structure.

Or can you?

Two methods allow you to actually see the structure of a story, regardless of its size.


#1. Shrunken Manuscript


Purely by accident, I invented the Darcy Pattison Shrunken Manuscript Technique. I was broke, but had agreed to review a manuscript for a friend.

In an attempt to be thrifty, I took a novel and shrank it to the fewest possible pages before printing. I single-spaced the manuscript, took out all white spaces at the beginning and end of chapters, and then shrank the font to 8pts.

Hard to read? Yes! But half the number of pages.

Suddenly, an amazing thing happened. I could see the story structure. A whole chapter took up only one page. Act 1 was a mere 5 pages. This was easy to see, understand, and evaluate for story structure.

Ideally, shrink the manuscript to about 30 pages, which will eventually lie on the floor in three neat rows of ten. For longer stories, try putting everything into columns, or shrink to 6pt font, since you won’t really be reading from this copy.

If all else fails, evaluate the manuscript in two chunks of about 30 shrunken pages each.

First, mark the scenes or pages you are evaluating with dark markers. (Yellow highlighters don’t show up at a distance.) For example, you might mark the places where the villain and protagonist are in direct conflict, whether it’s just a couple of paragraphs, a scene, or an entire chapter.

Then, lay the pages on the floor or on a large cabinet or table. Stand back to look over the story and evaluate.

You can clearly see the frequency, duration, and location of protagonist-villian interaction. If these interactions are not appropriate for your book, you can plan an effective revision.


For my middle grade novel, SAUCY AND BUBBA: A Hansel and Gretel Tale, I shrank the manuscript, and marked places where Krissy, the stepmother, interacts directly with Saucy, the protagonist. Because of story events, Saucy and Bubba run away from home, which means there are no direct interactions in the story’s middle, except for a brief phone call. Acts 1 and 3 are full of interactions, though, so this is a successful structure for this story.


#2. Spreadsheet Plotting


The second method of evaluating a novel for revision involves Spreadsheet Plotting.

Here, you use your favorite spreadsheet software to create a chart that summarizes your story. Create columns with labels such as: character name, setting, main plot, subplot, #words, and so on. Include whatever categories fit your needs. For example, mystery writers may want to include a column for clues.

Next, create rows for either scenes or chapters, depending on how deep you want to delve. Fill the information into the grid.

In this version of spreadsheet plotting, I used columns for Act#, Headline (short blurb for chapter), Day (time of year), POV, Setting, Action, and Emotion. Create columns to fit your genre of writing.

In this version of spreadsheet plotting, I used columns for Act#, Headline (short blurb for chapter), Day (time of year), POV, Setting, Action, and Emotion. Create columns to fit your genre of writing.


You decide what information goes into a column. In the main plot column, for example, you may simply indicate Act 1, Act 2, or Act 3, or you may be more specific.

For example, my novel The Hero’s Journey has clearly defined steps: ordinary world, call to adventure, meeting with mentor, crossing the first threshold, tests/allies/enemies, approach to the inmost cave, supreme ordeal, reward, the road back, resurrection, and return with elixir.

When your grid is ready, you can sort your novel according to any of the columns you’ve created.

I sorted the Spreadsheet Plotting by setting. You can see that 3 of the Act 1 scenes are at Home, and 16 of the Act 2 scenes are at Home. However, there are no Act 3 scenes at Home. Is this right or wrong? Only the author can decide.

I sorted the Spreadsheet Plotting by setting. You can see that 3 of the Act 1 scenes are at Home, and 16 of the Act 2 scenes are at Home. However, there are no Act 3 scenes at Home. Is this right or wrong? Only the author can decide.


Caution: Be sure to use consistent language, especially the first word in the entry, so the sort works well. If you write “kitchen scene” in one place, but “baking cookies” in another, the sort won’t catch that the cookies are baked in the kitchen.


Shrunken Manuscript vs. Spreadsheet Plotting


Both shrunken manuscripts and spreadsheet plotting reduce a novel to a manageable level.

At-a-glance analysis is simple in either method. However, each method has its strengths and weaknesses.

Because a shrunken manuscript uses a tiny font, it is hard to read the text. That’s usually alright, because you don’t need to read it; you only need to know what happened in a certain section. However, the tiny font does cause a problem for some people. You can alleviate this by leaving chapter titles or other key identifiers in a large font.


The advantage of a shrunken manuscript is that it shows proportions.

Let’s assume you marked your five strongest chapters with a bright X. (Five chapters works well for up to about 40,000 words; after that, mark another strong chapter for each 10,000 words.)

When you evaluate the novel, check to see which marked section is longer or shorter. In other words, you’re evaluating the proportions, or how long each event occurs.

I often find that an author marks the final chapter as a strong chapter. Good! The climax is usually the final chapter, and it should be strong.

But too often, that final chapter is only 3-4 pages long, compared to other chapters of 10-15 pages each. This means the chapter happens too quickly; it isn’t strong enough.

Climaxes should take up an extended space in a novel, creating a big scene that drastically changes the characters’ lives. Shortchanging the climax means a flat ending and a reader who feels cheated. This common mistake is easily seen in a shrunken manuscript.


The advantage of spreadsheet plotting is the ability of a spreadsheet program to sort.

You can click on any column and sort it into ABC order. Let’s assume you have scenes that take place in twelve different settings, but the most emotional setting is your mother’s kitchen.

By sorting, you can see where in your story’s structure kitchen scenes occur. If only one scene occurs in the kitchen, perhaps the emotional content is weak.

If ten different settings occur only once in the novel while the kitchen setting is repeated often, the story may be drowning in kitchen (emotions) and lack variety in setting.


Spreadsheet plotting can give you information on proportion, with a column for word count; but it isn’t visual enough.

A shrunken manuscript can be sorted using color-coding, perhaps using purple to mark scenes in the kitchen and red to X scenes in the garden. But it’s clumsy compared to sorting a spreadsheet column.

In other words, these are complementary tools that tell you something about your story.

Use the two methods in conjunction as you revise your novel, because the biggest advantage of both techniques is shrinking your novel to a manageable size that allows you to see the story at a glance.

When you want a simple count of how many times an event takes place in a certain setting, use Spreadsheet Plotting. Try this technique to evaluate POV, chapter length, or emotions.

When you want to see proportions, use a Shrunken Manuscript. It tells you not just where an event happens, but how much space it takes up.

When would you use one technique over the other? Let us know in the comments!


About the author: 

Writer and writing teacher Darcy Pattison blogs at Fiction Notes, one of Write to Done’s Top 10 Blogs for Writers. Download her free e-book After the First Draft at Fiction Notes. Tweet Darcy @FictionNotes.

Image: Pruning courtesy of Bigstockphoto

5 Ways To Improve A Perfect Story

Close up portrait of a young business man with the office buildiYou’ve written a story you’re proud of.

You’ve edited it until there’s nothing left to do. It’s perfect!

Isn’t it?

Of course.

But how can you enhance it?

That’s the challenge I face every day as a “copy doctor” when members of my writing program send me their work-in-progress for my comments.

Often I despair. Their stories are excellent. What can I do?

Then I ask myself these questions and – in a few moments – I find at least five ways to improve their stories.

Apply this checklist to your own work and see for yourself!


1. Do the characters chatter in a vacuum?


Maybe the dialogue snakes down the page with no indication of where the conversation is taking place. Are we still in the kitchen or the bar or… has the story shifted to the Sinai desert?

A simple way to remind us is to drop in a ‘dialogue beat,’ some trivial intrusion from the environment.


“That’s ridiculous,” Jack said.

Jill pouted. The barman grinned.


Ah, we’re still in the bar.

By the way, did we need the dialogue tag “Jack said?” Pundits tell us we should minimize repetitions of “he said/she replied.” They’re tedious.

What people say and how they say it should, in theory, give the reader enough clues. But do they? Not always.

After the third exchange we lose track. Remind us. A dialogue beat can do that.


“What happened to my drink?”

The barman brought Jill a Campari.


Now we know it was Jill speaking, not Jack.

Bring us back us to the context, continually. The story will gain depth.


2. Are the conversations robotic?


If we want to engage the reader – and we do, don’t we? – we must embed surprise, conflict, or intrigue into every passage.

I did it just then by interrupting myself with a question. Of course, that “conflict” can be as gentle as a lover’s pillow talk. But it must be there. Because conflict provokes emotions, and emotions engage the reader.

This is particularly true of dialogue. Show us the characters’ emotions throughout. Otherwise, the conversation will be flat. The simplest way to animate dialogue is to add body language.


“You killed my father!”

“Darling, you exaggerate.”


Dramatic? Yes. But what do the words mean? Reveal the emotions behind those words.


“You killed my father!” Her voice was broken glass.

“Darling, you exaggerate.” His eyes crinkled with amusement.


The next step is to drop in the characters’ thoughts or reflections. If a scene is written from the point of view (pov) of just one character, it’s no trick to present these directly to the reader.


You arrogant bastard, Jill thought.


But how can we convey the thoughts of other characters, without head hopping between different viewpoints and confusing the reader?

Have your main pov character observe the other person’s body language and speculate on their thoughts or feelings. This helps us stay in the main pov.


She saw his fingers tremble. Maybe she had frightened him, after all?


The eyes that looked back at her were cold with anger.

In a romance they might be “fierce with unrequited lust.”


Body language – and its interpretations – can be laid on with a fine brush or a trowel, according to your genre.


3. Does a descriptive passage invoke all five senses?


An inexperienced author might tell us simply what their characters see and hear. The other three senses are ignored. So the story is two-dimensional. To give it depth, show us also what the pov characters smell, taste and feel.


The chill winter air tasted of bonfire smoke. Jill warmed her hands at the crackling log fire, fragrant with apple wood, and wished devoutly she had worn shoes that did not pinch.


Now we are in that scene, exploring it through all of Jill’s senses. But did you notice how slow that passage was?

To lull the pace in any scene, drop in a lot of sensory detail. To quicken the pace, refer merely to sights and sounds. The brain understands references to sight and sound much faster than it does to the other three senses.


4. Is the story balanced in its pace?


Have you ever read a passage of beautiful prose and thought “That’s lovely but it’s dead?”

Chances are, all the sentences and paragraphs were of the same length. If you want to animate a scene – say, at a moment of tension – cut the sentences. Even to fragments.

Then give the reader a comfort break in the next paragraph by lengthening them again or perhaps, by dropping in a few dependent – that is, hanging – clauses.

Just like that.

Incidentally, an easy way to check if your paragraphs are balanced is to reset a page in Word to single-spaced, 9 points Time Roman. Justify the text. Stand back from your computer. The page will now look much as it would to the reader of a Kindle or printed book.

Has your text shrunk into one grey boring slab? Vary the paragraph lengths!


5. How tired is the story’s language?


A story need not dance with wordplay. Often, the most powerful tale is written in the most prosaic style. But the words should pull their weight. Here’s where the Find utility in Word can be a great help.

First, put the term ing into the search box. That will reveal, among many other words, all your gerunds.

Gerunds? These are weak verb forms that end with ing, like walking and sighing. Ration your gerunds to, say, just two per paragraph unless you want to send the reader to sleep.

Next, input the term ly. It will highlight most of your adverbs.  Sometimes, adverbs are necessary.

If Jack laughed, did he do it happily or bitterly? We need to know.

But adverbs, which qualify verbs, can usually be replaced with a more precise verb – he grinned, leered, winked, etc. – or with a colourful expression.


He made a noise like a duck swallowing a frog.


Adjectives can be just as dangerous. If you spot more than two in one sentence, ask: could I drop them or use some figure of speech instead?


The chamber was cold, empty and forlorn, chilled by the relentless wind.


That’s too many adjectives. Why not write:


The room was as cold as a taxman’s heart?


Needless to say, there’s more than that to being a “copy doctor.”

If you don’t have a good story to start with – a structure of conflict that’s emotionally strong, and characters readers can connect with – no amount of tinkering with the language will improve it.

But if your story is otherwise competent, take action on the five steps above and you’ll turn a good tale into a great one.

What changes will you make to your perfect story? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


About the author: 

Dr. John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing, runs the Writers’’ Village Academy program in fiction writing and is a tutor at a UK university. He has been a successful commercial author for 42 years. You can find a wealth of ideas for writing stories that succeed in his free 14-part course at Writers’ Village.

Image: How to improve courtesy of Bigstockphoto

What Are YOU Writing?

picture of person writingWhat are you working on right now?

A novel? Your best article ever? A poem? A film script?

Maybe you’ve just finished something you’re really proud of? Or you just can’t tell whether it should get a Pulitzer or be thrown into the trash?

Here’s your chance to share and discuss with each other what you are writing about.

Whet our appetite with the opening paragraph of your future bestseller or give us a link to your best article. Tell us: what are you writing at the moment?

Who knows, your piece might even attract the notice of a major publishing house!

Here are some guidelines:




State what aspect you’re working on. For example, you might want to say, “Here’s a link to my article “Whatever.” I’m currently working on eliminating superfluous words.”




* When commenting, first list everything you really like about a piece.
* Only then offer careful suggestions.
* Treat each other with respect, friendliness, caring, and honesty.
* Remember that we are all still learning.


Now it’s over to you. Take a deep breath. Then jump into the comment section and bring out your treasures!


About the author: 

Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at WritetoDone.com and Creator of A-List Blogging. After creating two super-successful blogs of her own, Mary has dedicated herself to teaching students to grow profitable blogs that attract attention. Take her fun quiz to see how much you know about what makes a blog successful.

Image: Writing courtesy of Bigstockphoto


How To Write Children’s Picture Books

picture of girl holding picture book

“Anyone can write a children’s book!”

Yep, that’s the response I get when I tell people I write for kids.

“After all, they’re just kids,” they say with a flick of the wrist.

As if kids are simpletons. As if kids don’t care what they read. As if kidlit publishers will buy any drivel.

We know this is not true.

Kids are smart, and picky about what they read. Publishers are inundated with so many children’s book manuscripts (because ‘anyone’ can write for kids, ‘everyone’ does) that they have to be extremely discerning.

As a child, I adored Roald Dahl’s fantastical tales, devoured the “Fudge” series by Judy Blume, and discovered a bookish best friend forever in Ramona. So I decided to write a book.

I wrote my first fractured fairy tale at age 8, and boasted that a publisher would snatch it up soon. My grandparents, misunderstanding, revved up the Chrysler and high-tailed it to Walden’s, searching in vain for my book.

Fast forward 30 years. I now have one picture book in print and four more on the way. Grandma and Grandpa would be proud (and would find my book on the store shelves).

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about how to write children’s picture books that I wish I’d known early on. Here are my six top tips.


#1. Concept sells.


Write about a subject that excites kids—robots, ballerinas, dump trucks, aliens, princesses, super heroes, and so on.

Imagine your cover on bookstore shelves. Ask yourself: will kids make a beeline for that image?

Stay away from overdone topics like getting a pet, having a new baby in the family, moving to a new home, or meeting the tooth fairy.

Holiday books have a limited sales window and a lot of competition, so it’s wise to avoid Christmas stories, too. Break in with something unique.


#2. Be aware of page breaks.


Most picture books have 32 pages, but not all pages are for story; some are used for end papers, the title page and copyright details.

Typically, there are 24 pages for story, which works out to twelve double-page spreads.


Take advantage of page turns – make them surprising and fun. Change your scene.

It helps to plug your story into a dummy when revising. Does your story fit the format?


#3. Rhyme only if you can rhyme well.


Editors see a lot of bad rhyme, mostly in the form of common rhyme, forced rhyme and inconsistent meter.

Couplets like fun / run / sun and do / too / you are not original. It’s obvious when a writer gets locked into a rhyme scheme that dictates the story and sends it on an unbelievable path.

Examine the work of rhyming masters like Jane Yolen, Jack Prelutsky, Karma Wilson, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Corey Rosen Schwartz.


(Image credit: interior of “Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman.)


#4. Keep it under 500 words.


The current “sweet spot” for picture book manuscripts is 500 words. Sometimes even fewer words are preferred. (My friend’s new book is only 20 words!)

Manuscripts with 800-1000 words don’t sell as well, so write tight to improve your odds of being published.

Remember that illustrations will tell half your tale, so you don’t need to be overly descriptive.


#5. Don’t be preachy.


Many children’s writers feel the need to teach kids a lesson.

“Message-driven” stories aren’t popular with children (or editors). It’s not fun to be lectured.

While every picture book should have an underlying emotional theme – like the love of family, friendship, or fitting in – it should avoid being didactic.


These five tips will give you a head start on how to write picture books. A great way to begin is my November writing challenge, PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month).

For a picture book, writing well is not enough – you must have a unique hook that jumps out and grabs the reader. They say that for every twenty ideas you have, you get one great idea, which is why I created PiBoIdMo.

The challenge is to jot down one picture book concept daily through November.  At the end of the month, you should have thirty or more bright and shiny ideas from which to choose. At least one is sure to be a winner.

I promised six tips, so I owe you one.


#6. Read picture books.


Read a lot of them. Picture books have a unique rhythm and cadence, a certain subtlety that can only be understood by reading and absorbing them.

Examine how the art and text work together to form the whole. Don’t just look at what’s being said – see what’s left unsaid.

I suggest reading 500 picture books before you sit down to write your first manuscript. You’ll be far ahead of the competition.


So are you ready? Start writing!

If you’re seeking a literary agent, have 3-5 manuscripts ready to go. Agents rarely sign picture book authors on one book alone, because it’s not lucrative enough.

I assure you that with every picture book manuscript you write, your ability to write tight and clever will improve.

Have any questions about writing picture books? Leave a comment below.

About the author:

Tara Lazar writes picture books and witty blog posts. Her debut book, The Monstore, is available now from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, with several more titles forthcoming. If you want to write for kids, join the kidlit party at taralazar.com.

Thanks to Bigstockphoto.com for image: Reading a picture book

How To Make The Right Choices For Your Novel

picture of woman making choicesHow do you know which choices are right for your novel?

When you first start typing words onto the blank computer screen, you won’t always have a clear vision of the story you’re about to write.

Your story could end up playing out in any number of ways, much like life itself.

The decisions you make when beginning your novel could easily turn out to be the wrong decisions.

The great thing about writing a book is that after finishing the first draft, you can always go back and correct all the mistakes. You’re at liberty to change your mind about almost any decision you might have made.

The not-so-great thing about writing a book is that when it turns out you’ve made a few wrong decisions in the beginning, the work required to correct those mistakes can be overwhelming.

That’s why it’s so important to identify the choices that will shape your stories—and to make the right decisions before you put words on the page.

Consider five decisions that will dramatically affect the course of your first draft. Some of them will be specific to your story. But others apply to every novel.


#1. Which Point of View Should You Use?


Point of view (POV) is the perspective through which the narrative is filtered. You can tell your story in one of three different POVs:

First-Person: ”I was a curious child: quick with questions and eager to learn. With acrobats and actors as my teachers, it is little wonder that I never grew to dread lessons as most children do.” – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Third-Person: In London, Nadine Waveney, startled from dull pre-dawn somnolence at the night desk, heard the distance-shrouded crumps and thought, for a stark, confused moment, Is it here? Zeppelins?My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

Second-Person: You are at the wheel of your car, waiting at a traffic light. You take the book out of the bag, rip off the transparent wrapping, start reading the first lines. A storm of honking breaks over you; the light is green, you’re blocking traffic. — If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino


Each POV will create an entirely different feel for your story. The intimacy of first-person, the practicality of third, and the eccentricity of second lend themselves to three very different types of story.


Which is right for your story?


Consider the pros and cons of each. Do you want to tell the story from the perspective of just one person? Does that person have a strong and interesting voice? If so, first-person may be the right choice.

But if you want to use more than one narrator or to allow a little more distance between your protagonist and your readers, you’re probably better off with third-person.

Second-person, an always tricky and usually unpopular choice, should be generally avoided.


#2. Whose POV(s) Will Your Novel Present?


Most stories will be confined to the specific perspectives of certain characters. Which POVs should your story include?

The protagonist’s: as in Susanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

The protagonist’s and the antagonist’s: as in The Winner by David Baldacci.

The love interest’s: as in Perdido Street Station by China Miéville.

The sidekick’s: as in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

The antagonist’s sidekick’s: as in Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows. 


How many are too many?


Which is right for your story?


A general rule of thumb when choosing POVs is: less is more.

The fewer POVs you have, the tighter your narrative will be.

Consider your story:

  • What important moments in the plot will your protagonist not be present for?
  • Do you need to dramatize these scenes?
  • If so, is there another character who could be a narrator?
  • Is this character important to the story?
  • Can you sow his POV throughout the book, so that his perspective matters to the story as a whole, and isn’t just a choice made for your convenience, at the risk of jarring readers?
  • Which characters have the strongest character arcs?


#3. Which Tense Should You Write In?


For centuries, past tense has been the standard for written fiction, but present tense has gained a certain trendiness in recent years.

Past Tense: They filed clumsily into the battleroom, like children in a swimming pool for the first time, clinging to the handholds along the side. Null gravity was frightening, disorienting; they soon found that things went better if they didn’t use their feet at all. —Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Present Tense: I turn to look at Clare and just for a moment I forget that she is young, and that this is long ago; I see Clare, my wife, superimposed on the face of this young girl, and I don’t know what to say to this Clare who is old and young and different from other girls, who knows that different might be hard. — The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Your choice of tense will affect every sentence of your story.

Past tense brings both flexibility and solidity – most readers don’t even think about tense when reading it.

Present tense has the ability to create both intimacy and distance, depending on how it’s used, while also lending speed, immediacy, and lyricism.


Which is right for your story?


Try writing a few paragraphs in both tenses.

Which tense comes more naturally to you? Which feels more appropriate for your story?

Some readers dislike reading the present tense. Are you willing to risk their dislike solely on account of the tense you use? What would present tense bring to your book that past tense can’t?


#4. How Long Should Your Book Be?


Here’s another decision that may be difficult to make beforehand, but which is absolutely worth thinking about.

Although it’s often best to allow the story itself to determine its length, authors can’t afford to overlook genre guidelines for word count.

If you can determine upfront how long you’d like your book to be, you can use a knowledge of story structure to approximate how long each section of your story needs to be — and to then keep track of your progress as you’re writing the first draft.


Which is right for your story?


What genre are you writing?

  • If you’re writing middle grade or young adult fiction, you’ll want to keep your book under 80,000 words.
  • Romance novels usually range from 55,000 to 100,000 words, depending on sub-genre.
  • Mysteries and thrillers should try to stay under 100,000 words.
  • Science fiction and fantasy novels usually range between 90,000 and 120,000 words.


 #5. How Long Should Your Scenes and Chapters Be?


Unlike previous decisions, this one is more flexible, since changing scene and chapter lengths can sometimes be as easy as moving the chapter headings and scene break markers.

But it’s still an important decision to keep in mind in the early stages, since scene and chapter length dramatically affect tone and pacing.

Longer scenes and chapters will create a sense of leisure and gravitas, as in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series.

Shorter scenes and chapters lend urgency and are often more effective at keeping readers turning the pages into the wee hours, as in Ruth Downie’s Gaius Petreius Ruso series.


Which is right for your story?

  • What type of story are you writing—a quiet, generational exploration of human nature, or an adrenaline-laced race against the clock?
  • What’s your protagonist’s personality—introspective and mellow, or fast-talking and action-oriented?

Match your story’s pacing to its tone by controlling the length of your scenes and chapters.


Before you turn yourself loose on the page, take a few moments to consider the ramifications of these five choices.

Once you know how to make the right choices for your novel, your first draft will be an enormous improvement over earlier first drafts. Making the right call now can save you hundreds of hours of work later.

What decisions do you try to make before starting your book? Have you ever made the wrong decision and realized it too late? Let me know in the comments below!


About the author:

Historical and speculative novelist K.M. Weiland is the author of Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

Thanks to Bigstockphoto.com for image: Making decisions