20 January 2011

To Draft or To Revise

Something I've been struggling with lately, amid many projects and reading slush, is getting a chance to draft. I've hit the climax of a novella, but I just haven't had time, with revising another book and submitting yet another, to finish it.

That makes me itchy. Something about drafting... I have a clear addiction to words and drafting is the only thing that satisfies it. I don't hate revising, but it gets tedious. Hence, I try to draft fairly competently (and I could go into my habits that help that some other time) to cut down on revision time.

But I know some writers loathe drafting and the only reason they write anything at all is to get the opportunity to revise.

So. Which are you? A drafter or a reviser? And why?

8 comments:

lesleylsmith said...

Interesting question, Editor Betsy. Only via drafting do I ever get "in the zone"...caught up in the story, oblivious to the world. :) So, I must be a drafter. Hhm...I better go do some. :)

Deb Smythe said...

Can't beat a good draft. Dark and foamy works for me. ;)

Sherri said...

I prefer revising, because it's way less scary to fix something that's already there than to start with a blank page. The blank page scares me. It's too exhilarating.

Catherine Stine said...

I've always been a revision junkie. But having successfully completed Nano, I see the great benefits of getting that rough draft done first. I think I may shift into a drafter!
Do you mark up the books you read, or study? Just posted on that if you are curious.
http://catherinestine.blogspot.com/2011/01/mark-up-your-books-kids.html

Betsy Dornbusch said...

I don't mark up published books. I don't have that kind of time. But I compulsively edit good stories when reading slush.

Peter Dudley said...

Definitely I'm a drafter, and one who hates revising so much that I, too, try to draft at high quality. I love creating, but I hate perfecting.

I find when I stall in a draft, it's due to one of three reasons: (1) I don't really know what should come next; (2) I know what's next, but I haven't thought it through enough to do it justice; or (3) I know what comes next, but it's a scene I would eventually cut out anyway. In all three cases, journaling about the characters, the "what the reader knows so far" of the story, and where they all get to eventually, unblocks me.

Sometimes you just need to let the stew simmer a little longer before it's ready to be served. Having other work to do during that time is very helpful.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Interesting, journaling. I do that too, very occasionally.

I synopsize, which might be considered a form of journalism.

Yvette said...

I think I'm a bit of both. There's something about having a white page in front of me where my thoughts can spill out and take shape. I might have a general idea of where to go, but most of the time the characters decide and I just type. I also like to go back to reread it; try to make it the best I possibly can and also relive the moment when I came up with a particularly good idea.