Friday, January 27, 2012

Writing Drafts: The Illustrated Version

Ever wonder how a manuscript progresses from first draft to last? Because I often think of the individual scenes, and even pieces of scenes, as building blocks, I decided to do a visual representation of my process. Using blocks.

This is my synopsis, which is basically my outline. It's the basics of the story - the who, when, major plot points, the beginning, the end. It's short. A reader would understand what and who the story's about and generally what's going to happen, but there's no dialogue and it's lacking details.

Then it's on to the first draft, which turns out something like this:

Obviously there's a lot more going on. Now we have dialogue, setting details, more characters and more character development. It resembles the synopsis, and's different. Looks a little weird, too, doesn't it? That's because I throw in all kinds of material in the first draft, some that stays, some that's clearly not going to work.

So I start renovating, and wind up with something like this:

Some material is still there, especially the basics, or foundation. But lots has been taken away, too.

That means rewriting, or adding new material, until I have this:

Almost, but not quite. Now, sometimes I'm lucky and I only have to do one more draft. Other times, I will tear down and rebuild two or three more times, until I get to the finished edifice:

Now, being me, I could tinker with this for, well, probably years. But there comes a time when I'm tired of playing with those particular blocks and I want to try something else, with different colors or shapes. That's when I know the story is as good as I can make, and if I keep working on this project, all I'm going to do is start making a mess.


Anonymous said...

Good illustatration. How did you manage to do that without the cats "helping" you?

I'm looking forward to reading the book, whenever it comes out.

Margaret Moore said...

The cats were too busy snoozing to bother me. :-)