Understanding your rough draft

Talk with at least one other person in the room about these questions:

  • What large (global, chapter-level) changes do you need to make first? Second?
  • What worries you about your opening? Your middle? Your conclusion?
  • How can you increase the reader’s engagement in the narrative?
  • Which scenes might you summarize? Which summaries need to become scenes?
  • How do you plan to show change in characters in the next draft?

At home, do at least one of the following:

  • Read the draft in one sitting without changing anything. Note changes you’d like to make.
  • Make an outline of what you’ve already written.
  • Write a one-page summary of the entire rough draft
  • Chart increasing and decreasing tension in the rough draft
  • Try the “shrunken draft” exercise.

Make a revision plan or at least a list of several “next drafts.”

  • Give each draft a specific purpose. For example
    • Does altering the order of events increases drama?
    • Does altering the order of events make power shifts more obvious?
    • Which scenes can be added to increase characterization?
    • Which summaries ought to be scenes?
    • What can I cut?
    • Which scenes need to be rewritten?
    • Which is the most boring moment and how can that be changed?
    • Where might chapters be important? Where might you divide the manuscript so that revising each draft can consist of a series of smaller, less overwhelming tasks?
    • Save sentence-level/grammar issues for the summer.
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