Another Draft is Always Better

Another Draft is Sort of Better
Another Draft is Mostly Better
Another Draft is Always Better

Hello Young Writers! 

Literary master Bob Bristlemop once wrote: A story is never truly finished, at some point it just stops moving. As the writer, we simply decide when that point is.

Think of all the books you’ve read, movies you’ve seen, songs you’ve heard, food you’ve eaten. Then throw in everything you haven’t. You may not realise, but absolutely 100% of everything EVER has undergone multiple drafts to become what is it today. Re-drafting is natural. It’s evolution. It is fun!

Some cool facts:

  • Shrek (2001) took more than 20 complete drafts until the screenplay was finalised.
  • J.K. Rowling took 15 drafts to write the first Harry Potter book.
  • Frozen (2013) was in story development since 1936! It took them 70 years to decide Olaf should be a cute snowman instead of a giant icy killing machine (no joke).
  • In the original drafts of Toy Story (1996) Woody was a cruel ventriloquist dummy with a gaping jaw and creepy dead eyes… Much prefer cowboy Woody thank you!

Drafting Drafting Drafting. The pro’s all do it, and now so do you!

Here are my hot tips on how to dive right into draft two.

FINISH DRAFT ONE: You can’t rewrite a story that doesn’t exist yet. Get it down.

WRITE A LOG-LINE: Look at your story as a whole and in one sentence, write down what it is really about. This gives you a guide in which to check if your story is consistent and follows it’s own rules.

BE RUTHLESS: Every aspect of the story needs to focus on what the story is about and has to make logical sense. If anything breaks the rules, either tweak it or trash it.

CUT THE FAT: Like 67% of the Australian population, the majority of sentences you have written are most likely overweight. Cut them down. Make them Snap. Crackle. Pop! Read each sentence out loud and identify words that don’t add anything nutritious to the story. Words like ‘then’, ‘but’ and ‘because’ can often make one gigantic sentence that would be better as 1-3 short, sharp sentences.

DON’T REPEAT ACCIDENTALLY: If for no reason an event re-occurs or a character takes a similar action with the same consequence, it most likely isn’t adding anything to the story. Tweak or trash.

LOWER THE WORD COUNT: The largest stories are told with the fewest words.

MOVE THINGS AROUND: Does your story happen in the best order? Don’t be afraid to experiment with moving scenes around.

HAVE THE BEST TIME: Re-rewriting is where the magic happens. Here you take your good story and turn it into something remarkable.

IT’S UP TO YOU: The quality of your story depends on the amount of energy you put into it. Always.

You do not need to do a zillion drafts to nail your story, but you do need to make sure that when you say it’s done, you are confident that your story is as good as it can possibly be.

As for the opening quote, actually I wrote that. You see, on further drafting I thought inventing a literary expert would be more convincing. Also, Bob Bristlemop is a great fake literary expert name.

Thanks Bob, and thank you for reading.

When do you think your story is ready to stop moving?

Happy Drafting!