No matter how good of a writer you are, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to do a lot of revising if you want to end up with a kick-ass final draft. And with revising comes a lot of rewriting.
But that doesn’t mean you have to rewrite your entire draft.
There are things you can do—five things, specifically—that can help you avoid doing a full-draft rewrite.
Now don’t get me wrong—if you want to rewrite your entire draft, or if you want to use the “write multiple drafts” process for story development, that’s up to you. But it’s definitely not something I recommend.
Writing multiple drafts take a lot of time and effort, and it’s likely you’ll either get burned out or grow bored of your story if you have to write several drafts in order to get to a final one. Or maybe that’s just me.
All I know is, if I have to rewrite a draft more than one time, I’m not going to finish the story. I don’t have the attention span for multiple drafts.
So I follow these five little steps to help me avoid having to do a full-draft rewrite:
Convert Your Story Idea Into A Concept and Premise
If you write a draft before you’ve fully determined if what you have is a story or not, you’re guaranteeing yourself a full-draft rewrite. Without knowing what your story is really about ahead of time, you won’t know what to write when you sit down to the page.
So what will happen is you’ll start writing, heading in one direction, but then the story will take a turn and you’ll end up somewhere you never expected. Which is great for story development. But all signs point to you having to write another draft.
Take some time to work on your idea—do what it takes to convert it from a simple idea “seed” into a full concept and premise.
Once you can write a 1-2 sentence “pitch” of your story, then you’re ready to develop it.
2. Develop Your Story
Once you’ve converted your story idea seed into a concept and premise, you can begin the story development process. This is when you really dive in, dig around and try to drag out all the details and information about your story that you can.
The best way to start developing your story is to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.
Who is this character? What does she really want? Who’s going to oppose what she wants? Why? What characters will support her on her journey?
The deeper you go with the questions, the better your story will be.
3. Plan Your Story
After you’ve spent time developing your story and really trying to make sure you have a grip on what this story is about and who this Protagonist and Antagonist are, then you can begin planning your story out. The planning process is all about determining your story structure.
What structure will support your core story? (Of course keeping in mind that there are specific structure points that you must hit). How will you execute this structure in a way that keeps the reader hooked ’til the end?
4. Create A Story Road Map
Now that you have your story structure points in place, you can put together a road map that includes all of the scenes you need to connect these structure points. Creating a road map requires you to think about what scenes are needed in order for the story to unfold properly.
You’ll want to think about each part of the story—part one, part two, part three and part four—and determine what needs to happen in order to fulfill the mission of each part (part one is set up; part two is reaction; part three is attack; and part four is resolution).
Then when you’re finished with your road map, you’ll be able to write a strong first draft (at least structurally speaking).
5. Work With A Writing Coach
Of course writing a first draft can be a lot of work to take on all by yourself. Sometimes having support really does make the difference between a draft you finish and a draft that never gets started.
When you work with me, I will take you step-by-step through this process and help you pull the story idea from your head, develop it into an actual story, build the structure and scenes, and then I’ll be your rock while you write the first draft.
Together we will bring your story to life.
“Jennifer has been incredibly helpful in structuring my work-in-progress. I now have an easy-to-use plan to write from, which makes the process so much more enjoyable”—J. Waggoner
We’ll talk about your story and see if we’d be a good fit to work together.