02 June 2008


You finish your rough draft. Now what? How do you write an effective second draft of your story rather than just edit what you've already written or simply move words around?

I have a few tips.

1) Fill out a Scene Tracker for your project. Scenes that fulfill all seven essential elements of plot -- date and setting, character emotional development, is driven by a specific character goal, shows dramatic action, is filled with conflict, tension, suspense or curiosity, shows emotional change within the scene, and carries some thematic significance -- keep. Any scenes that do not fulfill each of these elements may not carry enough weight to belong in your story.

Evaluate your Scene Tracker for your strengths and weaknesses. If you find your Scene Tracker has lots of Dramatic Action filled with conflict, tension, and suspense, but little Character Emotional Development, in your rewrite, concentrate on your weakness.

For those scenes that do not fulfill each of the seven essential elements, see if you can integrate more of them in your rewrite or consider lumping together two or more weak scenes in order to make one powerful scene.

2) Create a new Plot Planner for your story. Locate the three most important scenes -- the End of the Beginning, the Crisis, the Climax. Evaluate how many scenes fall above and below the line. Consider how the energy rises and falls. The visual representation of your project should give you clues as to where to concentrate during the rewrite.

3) Write a brief outline of your story by chapter -- simply one or two sentences per chapter that will gives a feel for pacing, plot, and flow. The process of writing the outline should start to reveal holes and weaknesses throughout.

4) Write a one-page synopsis of your story.

Of course, you can always sign-up for a Plot Consultation. I'll let you know where to concentrate the next time around.

How do you go about preparing for a rewrite? What is your favorite method for "seeing" the whole of your story in order to evaluate what's needed for the rewrite???