How We Write Wednesdays: Rewriting and Planning–Bookends for Drafting

I’m wrapping up revisions today and making plans for May’s Drafting HoWW lessons. Yes, Jenni and I taught planning first, then rewriting, and next we’ll do drafting. Messed up?  No. Why? Because your plans and your faith in your ability to deconstruct and rework a novel are the bookends of your process–mastering these first two techniques frees you to draft without constraints.

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Think about it. Once you plan as carefully as time and tolerance allows, you have a game plan. If you’ve invested in your process enough to be confident in your skills as a rewriter–of anything, no matter what you come up with–then there will be no anxiety waiting for you at the other end of your drafting. So what’s to stop you from writing free, using your plotting work as a guideline?

I teach students at my workshops and weekend retreats that how we approach our writing is a metaphor for how we approach life. Everyone’s blocked by something. Everyone fears something.That something in your writing life, if you look close enough at it, will resemble something significant that you struggle with in your “real” world. If that core fear happens to be, as it does with me, not being in control, then drafting won’t be your happy writing place.

When we draft, we write blind, no matter how much planning we’ve done. We can’t know for sure where we’re going, and we have to be okay with that. Dealing with our story’s unclear destination can be difficult. Panic is a common outcome for many of us.

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And panic does NOT inspire  optimum drafting creativity. Panic is the true villian to an inspired original idea, brilliant characters, and a talented-yet-neurotic writer ;o). Panic can draft writer cold and sends us back to what seems most familiar–more planning;  rewriting too soon (another form of planning); a beautifully rendered beginning with no progress to speak of toward that dreaded, unknown ending…

So, Jenni and I have taught the bookends of creativity so far in HoWW, either of which might be what you most fear. Next, we’re going to focus on how to creatively thrive on a deadline,within the constraints of genre, and with the expectation that you’re going to have to rework every bit of what you’re doing (more than likely more than once). Because them’s the breaks in the big leagues.

Published or not, this is your job. Success doesn’t hing solely on creativity, or analytical ability or editing prowess.Success is all about your ability to tell a good story, and your determination to do whatever it takes to make that story the very best you can. So, still no 10-step quick tips here. No guaranteed “how to snag an editor’s attention.” We’re not going to promise a throng of loyal fans if you follow a few simple rules.

What we will continue to do at How We Write Wednesdays, through May with our draft writing posts and beyond, is encourage you to dig deeper and learn how YOU do what you do, and then how to do that better.

Come back next week for Jenni’s opening draft-writing wisdom. Look over the last couple of months if you need a little inspiration (or a kick in the pants) in the mean time ;o)

I’m off to be lazy and finish prepping for my May 2nd Secret Legacy release (squeeee!).

Revision:

Plot:

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