Monday, July 29, 2013

Revising Vs Drafting

I often think there’s something wrong with me. I mean aside from all of the usual stuff. I mean something deep and dark that can’t be easily fixed. Or maybe I just don't want to fix it. 

Why? Because I don’t outline and I don’t really revise very much. I just write. That doesn’t mean I don’t do revisions. I do. Mostly when an editor says, “Fix this, please.” After said request is made I’ll consider each possible revision and then do what I deem best. Normally I agree with the editors. As I’ve said before, I LIKE editors. They serve a very viable purpose in my estimation.

But I don’t normally do much more than one draft and a clean up before I send a manuscript off to be considered. I mean yes, I clean up typos. I’m not COMEPLETELY insane. But it’s amazingly rare for me to chop a scene or go back and rewrite from scratch. The last time I did that it was for Seven Forges, because I decided the scene was better left out completely.

Mind you, I say all of this while I’m doing a major revision on a novel. Like I said, rare, bit unheard of.

So here it is: I believe in striking while the iron is hot. That means I write the first draft of my novels at high speed. I don’t really read the work in progress to refresh myself as to where I left of, because I don’t normally need to. Most cases, I know exactly where I stopped and what I intend to do next.

I don’t outline. At the end of any work in progress, or just possibly as a separate file, I have a list of names for characters that have shown up, most often with one sentence to remind me about who that character is. Aside from that, no notes. I just write.

When I’m done writing, I move on to something else. It might be a short story or another novel. It might be another Dinner For One essay depending on my mood, or any combination thereof. And when I have finished that project, I go back to the previous work and look it over from beginning to end. I need a little time to see the flaws. Otherwise I remain blind to them.

On incredibly rare occasions I have used a first reader. Most times the only person who sees a work before my potential editor is me. It’s not that I don’t like first readers. It’s that I hate being THAT guy whose always asking favors. What can I say? It’s the way I’m wired.

I prefer not to outline. I prefer to finish the work before I red over any part of it again. I prefer to work hard and fast at the first draft and then take my time honing it to a proper edge.

I prefer not having to write a book a second time.

I am very, very grateful for the modern age where all of the initial revisions take place on a digital file.  

I did an interview, by the way. A couple of them. But the most recent one shows up right here if you suddenly find you need to know more about me, or about my novel SEVEN FORGES.


  1. "I prefer not having to write a book a second time."

    Amen, brother!

  2. If I were a brilliant brain neurosurgeon I would pry open your mind and figure out how you can write like that, not having to look back and see where you left off, and not having to go back and change scenes because your antagonist suddenly grew a soft heart.

  3. Alexia, my dear, my antagonists pretty much never grow soft hearts. :)