Working Draft

In case you were wondering, the term “Working Draft” is one I just made up. I don’t know if anybody else has ever thought about this or not, but here’s my definition:

A working draft is the preliminary writing an author will do in order to get a better feel for his story. The majority of the work is often discarded when the writer has a firm understanding of how the final story needs to be written.

This is what I did with the short story I just finished. I sat down and started writing, not really caring what was going on the page, just getting some words out and seeing where it went. And by the time I had five hundred words down I had decided that I knew what the story was, so I stopped.  I jotted down some notes for a quick summary of what I wanted the final draft to be, and then I started over.

It worked. I now had a handle on who my character was and what was going on in his life. I knew what was going to happen to him and where he was going to end up. And the final draft was fairly easy to write from there.

There were some points where I had to stop and think while I was writing. Not really about where the story was going, but about how I was going to tell it. But my summary helped me figure it out without too much delay and stress, and I ended up with close to three thousand words (most of it written last night).

I’m not sure how good it is, but that’s up to an editor to decide. I’ll probably end up tweaking it some more before I use it for a submission, but that’s pretty normal.

I think I’m going to continue to use this process for these stories for a while. It seems to work out well for me. I just have to make sure I start the work a little earlier in the week from now on. Last week I didn’t start my working draft until Thursday morning. The actual writing didn’t get started until Friday night, and then, like I said, most of it got done Saturday night.

I’ll see you again on Wednesday. But before I go, let me leave you with a little tip that popped into my head this morning:

If you don’t already have a pet, get one. It looks a lot better when you talk to an animal than when you talk to yourself. 😉



Filed under The Writing Experience

3 responses to “Working Draft

  1. That sounds a lot like what people call a “discovery draft” or a “zero draft”. But given how it worked for you, I’d certainly stick with this process for a while and see how it works for you. I occasionally use a similar method when I can’t quite figure out a piece. Don’t be surprised if at some point you have to write several working drafts before one finally clicks. Good luck!

  2. Glad the working draft thing worked out for you! Love the tip about pets! I was talkiing to the cat; honest!

  3. couldn’t do with younger cat to bounce my ideas off:) working draft is good idea – all best for following week:)

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