Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Purposeful Drafts

Several years ago, I heard Jaïra Placide speak at an SCBWI conference. For me, the most important thing she said was, “Every draft should have a purpose.”

When revising, it’s easy to ignore the big issues and fiddle with words, but word tinkering should be left for the last step. I find that my revisions are most effective when I focus on a specific goal for each draft. These goals are large issues like adding personality to a secondary character, making a character’s voice consistent, or getting the characters into the action sooner.

At the Whole Novel Workshop in Honesdale, I was reminded that every draft should have ONE purpose. In my current revision, two of the main characters are exchanging roles, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of this task. I keep reminding myself that this draft is for stage management. All I’m doing is moving the characters around. At this point, it doesn’t matter if the writing is clunky or if the characters have lost their voices. I’ll fix those things in subsequent drafts.  


Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great advice Ann. After revising a zillion times, my revisions did start focusing on specific aspects of the manuscript that needed work. And it did work.

TimInMich said...

That's a new concept for me! I was probably groping my way toward it, but thanks for putting it succinctly. My current draft has a purpose I call "condensing." If I can make the timeline work, I'll have Sandborn and Hammer show up before the trek. Currently I can't see how that will be as impactful as their arrival after dark in the mountains. But it will let me interweave exposition with action much more than just plunking it down around the campfire.