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Nov 29, 2012

Update on #NaNoWriMo 29: What Kind of Draft Do You Have?

By now, whether you've been doing NaNoWriMo the whole month, or only in the last few days, or only sporadically in between downloading your consciousness into a metal scorpion for the gladiatorial robot jousts your Overlords demand every day at Tea Time, you should have some sort of drafty novely thingy.

The question is, what kind of draft is it?

Do you have a neat draft...?

Do you have a messy draft...?

Or do you have a scriptment that still needs some unpacking?

It's going to make a difference in revisions.

Let's go over the possible States of the Draft.

1. Neat and Complete

You make all of us sick. Not only did you finish NaNoWriMo with a day (or more) to spare, but your draft is neat, complete and ready to send to an editor and proofreader.

Of course, this is what we all wish we had, but for many reasons, we might not yet be at this stage.

Major Strengths: You finished a novel.
Major Weaknesses: None. Unless you might decide it needs major structural revisions despite its status because you rushed to completion but left out the emotional heart of the original story. 

2. Neat but Incomplete

Maybe your first five chapters are polished to a shine, but the other nineteen aren't written yet.

Major Strengths:  This is not a bad position to be in, as long as those other nineteen chapters will unfold in the same meticulous fashion.
Major Weaknesses: You could be in a position of having to throw away three of those beautifully polished chapters once you realize they make no sense in light of Chapter Eighteen.

3. Overflowing Mess

This used to be what my drafts always looked like... sprawling miles of wordy fat. Too many subplots, too many chapters, too many scenes, too many pages, too many characters, too many, too much, too crazy! Oy.

Major Strengths: You wrote a lot, and you wrote it fast. It's (usually) easier to trim than to add.
Major Weaknesses: With a draft like this you'll need to cut, cut, cut. And after that, you'll need to tighten, trim and cut some more. And add some more. And cut some more. Until you finally have a draft that is neat and complete and ready to proofread.

4. Complete But Unpacked

If you wrote more of a scriptment than a draft, your novel is incomplete, but in a different way than the neatly unfinished #2 type or the slopy mess of #3.

Major Strengths: All the requisite scenes are penciled in, but they need ink.
Major Weaknesses: The scriptment may, like other forms of draft, have weaker spots -- places where the scenes are not blocked beat by beat, or have places that will not unpack as predicted (take more or less words than predicted.). This is a fairly solid foundation for further work, since it will be easy to sit down and know exactly where to start.

1 comment:

city said...

thanks for sharing.