Rewriting? No, Prewriting!
Rewriting is very important. But, just as important is…prewriting.
This is just what it says.
Before you write a scene write out some notes about what you want to achieve in the scene.
- Who are the characters involved?
- What is the setting?
- What details do you want to focus on?
- What specific words do you want to use in your descriptions?
Get creative writing ideas down as you go. Then organize your thoughts before jumping in head first. You wouldn’t build a house without first drawing up a blue print would you?
One of the best creative writing ideas you may want to use for prewriting is called a story board. It is a way to organize your thoughts and brake things down into categories.
- Sensory images
- Focus of the scene
- Point of view
- Psychic distance
- And anything else you can think of…
You can do this for the entire novel or on a scene by scene basis.
How Does Your Plot Line Up?
Before you start writing, draw out your plot line on a piece of paper.
Well, it’s like a skeleton… only it’s for a story.
These are the points that you will use in your plot. It doesn’t matter what kind of story you are telling every story follows this same pattern.
- Plot Point I
- Plot Point II
- Wrap up
Now, along your plotline, plot the things that must happen in between point A and point B.
For example, a bank is robbed, where does it happen in the plot? Does it happen at the beginning and the whole plot flows from there? Or does it happen in the middle or closer to the end.
Perhaps, one character tells another that she loves him. Where would this go on the plot line?
Don’t be afraid to move things around. And, don’t be afraid to make changes to it even if you are on the 10th draft of your book. Things will change again and again and again as you hone your vision of what your novel is.
From Prewriting To Rewriting
Very rarely does anyone write anything perfectly on the first attempt. Rewriting is absolutely essential to good writing. Some writers will only need 3 drafts to get the finished product and some will need 100. It all depends.
In rewriting you run the risk of accidentally losing writing from a previous draft that was actually better than the rewritten version.
To prevent this from happening use this process.
- Title each draft as follows: Draft 1, Draft 2, Draft 3 etc.
- As you move from revision to revision copy the previous draft and retitle it, Draft 1 becomes Draft 2
- Within each draft create breakout or sub drafts
For example, say you are revising a specific scene.
Create what I call a breakout draft, a separate draft from the one you are working on. Call it Revision X or whatever you want to call it.
It is here you will rewrite the specific scene.
This will enable you to compare it to the previous draft. You can even develop multiple breakout drafts for the same scene to see which one works best… Revision X, Revision Y, Revision Z etc.
Once you are satisfied, cut and paste the contents of your breakout draft into the main draft.
Now move on to the next scene you want to rewrite.
It’s that simple.
Apply these creative writing ideas to your writing and you will become much more organized, methodical and, consequently, effective.