Drafting and Revising: Finding What Works

When it comes to switching from drafting to revising, lots of people have advice.

“Push through with your draft!”

“Resist the urge to revise!”

I try. I really do. And I can usually make it–most of the way.

But I’ve discovered recently that I do the same thing with each manuscript. The good thing is that my method fits something else people always say, “Do what works for you.”

My drafting/revising process looks like this:

  • Get idea.
  • Go, “Oooooh.”
  • Try to forget idea.
  • If idea won’t go away, start drafting. Just a chapter or two.
  • Put draft aside.
  • After at least a week, look at drafted pages. If  reaction is “meh,” set aside. If  reaction is “oooh,” outline.
  • Prepare 9-point-plot outline.
  • Get some feedback. Apply to outline and first pages.
  • Draft. Draft a lot. Go as far as possible.
  • Keep getting feedback. Collect, save, set aside. Keep drafting. Resist the temptation.
And then it explodes. Kerplooey! Splat! Gaaaaah!
  • Give in. For me, this is usually sometime before the climax. I’m questioning my outline. I’m thinking of the great feedback I received. I go back to the beginning and revise.
  • Once I make it through the revision and back to where I was with the draft, I’m energized. I have a plan. I know where I’m going. At this point–and only at this point–I can finish my draft.

This is what works for me. But I only figured it out by breaking the rules that work for others. Best of luck finding what method works best for you!

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11 responses to “Drafting and Revising: Finding What Works

  1. Pingback: Kip Wilson Rechea: Drafting and Revising: Finding What Works « NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

  2. I’ve learned that you have to find what works for you. And for me, it’s not always the same for every manuscript. You kind of have to go with what’s working at the time, I guess.

    • Interesting! I feel like I’m streamlining my process as I go, but maybe I’ll switch gears and do it differently some day. We’ll see!

  3. This is the first manuscript where I’ve done no revision as I go (save for little word noodlings from when I read the previous day’s words). I have tentatively gone back and started a doc with new first paragraphs, because I know the beginning is wrong. But I’m hoping the end will lead me to the beginning on this one!

  4. The key is what works for you. I recognize some of my process in yours, but we also do a couple of things differently. As writers we can’t help but reflect on our process. No rules- sticking with what works.

  5. I totally have to agree that everyone needs to find their own means of getting through a draft. I’m a “get it done!” kind of drafter, then go back and attempt to make it all make sense. Sometimes this works, and other times, well, not so much 🙂

    • I have nothing but respect for those who can get it done. Hope it works for you most of the time! Maybe it’ll work for me someday …

  6. Your method and my method need to get together for #wip drinks!!! I ALWAYS edit/revise while I go – I find I can easily build tension and pacing that way 🙂 *HIGH FIVES YOU* #UnconventionalDraftersFTW

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