Friday, August 29, 2014

My New Novel Organization System

I've come to the conclusion that the labels "1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc." draft doesn't work for me. My creative process tends to involve random bits of chapter being cobbled together by luck and caffeine. I've decided that my novel manuscript organization system looks more like this:


  • The Outline - aka: A list of the events that I think will happen in my novel before I start writing and realize that all those events have to change
    • I only sometimes do this. Generally, I think it's a good idea. Helps keep me on track. To anyone else, it will look like gibberish.
  • The Scribble Draft - aka: The Draft that Nobody Sees
    • My first attempt to write a scene ever. In my case, it's usually way too wordy or way to sparse. Either way, it won't make much sense. If it is in the computer, I will usually type over it with the rough draft, thus preventing the abomination from inflicting itself on the unsuspecting eyes of the public.
  • The Rough Draft - aka: The Draft that Only my Writers' Group Will See
    • I have deemed this draft worthy enough to recieve input on its general plot and form from other writers who understand the struggle, but not worthy enough to be called an accurate representation of what this novel will ultimately become.
  • The 1st Draft - aka: The Draft that Only my Writers' Group and Maybe Some Select Friends Will See
    • This is the first draft that I can proudly claim vaguely resembles my novel. It'll be a little rough around the edges, but it's still growing into itself.
  • The 2nd Draft - aka: The Draft that In a Pinch I'd Be Willing to Show a Few Chapters to an Editor... Maybe
    • It's a little better than the first draft, but it's not as good as the third draft. All the main plot points are there, as well as action and dialouge. I will begin to notice the major errors and have to rewrite certain scenes/sections all the way from Scribble through 2nd Draft again.
  • The 3rd Draft - aka: The Pretty One
    • The draft where I am so tired and coffee-fried that I come to believe that this is the One. It must be finished. But I am wrong. An impartial reader will be required to set me straight. Don't worry, you won't actually have to read it. All you'll have to do is smack me over the head with the bulk of the manuscript and scream "Do it again!" If in my delirium I mutter anything about self-publishing at this point, you are to tie me to a chair, tape my eyelids open Clockwork Orange-style and continue smacking me with the manuscript until I recover from this madness.
  • The 4th - ?th Draft - aka: The Method and the Madness
    •  The drafts where I get down to the business of the read/write/rewrite cycle until one is deemed worthy enough to be shown to an editor or agent and continues through that process until it is on a shelf and it is too late to make any more changes.
  • The Final Draft - aka: The Book in My Hand
    • There's nothing more I can do. I sigh, I smile, and I take in the glorious smell of a newly printed book. Then my brain feverishly begins to plot the sequel.