Snow White and the Seven Drafts

When I first saw Brevity’s blog post on Seven Drafts, my reaction was unfit for print. Well, it was unfit for professional publication, but for our jaded readers here, suffice it to say it went something like, “fuck you and the fucking horse you fucking rode in on.” (Do recall I’m on lucky draft 17.)

But once I calmed down, I read more and began to appreciate Williams’ excellent advice. Vomit draft. Of course! Story draft where you make sure the whole story makes sense. Optimistic, but I could see how that might work. Don’t let me keep summarizing, go read it yourself.

I have done the polishing draft (I can’t really call it a personal copyedit as those words are too close to my job as a copyeditor) a ton. But I have never done the story draft. I see you beta readers out there shaking your head. Mm-hmm, we could have (and did) tell you that for free, my dear.

[Management: Indy Clause just added and deleted three sentences trying to justify her whole stinkin’ lack of plot, blaming it on everything from the very nature of memoir to Reagan-era politics.]

I guess I know what I’m doing today.

Please ask me more grammatical/writerly/editorial questions so that I don’t have to gaze into the existential void of my writing life.

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7 responses to “Snow White and the Seven Drafts

  1. I don’t think I can count the “drafts” I do, at least on my short stories. Not because there are so very many but because they tend to be skirmishes rather than actual battles. I might peek into a story just to tinker with a bit of dialogue or some image I want to strengthen, but I won’t do a wholesale review and attempt at major rewrite. I guess I could say that the novels I’ve worked on (and then finished and then abandoned) could be looked at as drafts.

    I try not to be so analytical about what I consider a qualitative activity.

    Also, you can probably blame most things on Reagan-era politics. Bastards!

    • I like how you put that: both the skirmishes and the analytical/qualitative. I realize the qualitative/quantitative approach is something I struggle with a lot. I just hadn’t put it in those terms.

      Sometimes I need to rely on numbers to get through (1000 words a day, damnit!), other times the numbers are off-putting and depressing.

      As for Reagan-era politics, I will blame away. (Have you read Ian Frazier’s “Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days”? It is hilarious. The main character blames everything on Bush.)

  2. I just saw this – thank you 🙂 And hey, that’s only the seven drafts BEFORE paying an editor or using up favors to get feedback! (My memoir is on draft 14 and counting…)

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