Thursday, October 16, 2014

My New, New Novel Organization System

A month or so ago I came up with my "new" organization system for describing drafts of a novel. I've recently realized how confusing the system is because when I said "I'm working on my first draft", I really meant, "I'm working on the first draft after my rough draft". So, in the name of not having to overexplain things to my friends, here's a simpler version of it:

  • The Outline (aka: "Novel-in-a-Box")
    • aka: A list of the events that I think will happen in my novel before I realize that all those events are stupid and have to change
    • I like writing these ideas on notecards and storing them in a notecard box, hence, "novel-in-a-box"
  • 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 1st Draft (aka: 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 2nd Draft (aka: The Smart One)
    • 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 3rd Draft (aka: The Pretty One)  
    • aka: The draft where I am so tired and coffee-fried that I come to believe that this is the One.
    • 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 my madness.
  • The 4th - ?th Draft (aka: The Editor's Drafts)
    •  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, then whatever edits are suggested by said editor.
  • The Final Draft (aka: The Book)
    • The only "final" draft there can be is a completed, published book. There's nothing more I can do. I sigh, I smile, and I take in the glorious smell of fresh ink. Then my brain feverishly begins to plot the sequel.