Does This Draft Taste Fresh To You?

Pint of American beer

Crisp, with a lingering taste of adverbs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ongoing quest to Win at Writing, I keep trying new methods. My brain is an experimental space. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a new draft form, inspired by this post by Joe Hill. I bookmarked it and then threw it into the giant junk drawer that is Evernote a while back, but found it again when I was looking for some ideas about rewriting. For those of you who can’t be arsed to click through, the link discusses a method of drafting used by Hill during his writing. The part that I’ve been using lately is mentioned here:

“With my third draft, everything is rewritten from scratch. No cutting-and-pasting, no editing on-screen. Every single chapter, paragraph, and sentence must prove its worth or die.”

God help me, I do love the idea of a word death-match.

I found this interesting, though. I’ve always edited the existing document. Or maybe a copy if I wasn’t feeling entirely certain about my changes. The snapshot feature on Scrivener is great for that. Never occurred to me to do it any other way. Isn’t it weird how that works?

Anyway, lately I’ve been splitting the screen into two documents, keeping the original on the bottom, and writing again as I edit. It’s slower, I can tell you that. But I think I’ve been turning out cleaner final drafts. No clutter that gets to stay in out of sheer laziness on my part. I have to want a line in a story bad enough to type it from scratch. You really consider how much you want to say something when you’re doing that.

Also, it makes my hands tired.

This is all good stuff, though. It makes me much less tolerant of my own bullshit. And, man, can I bullshit.

I’ll try this way for a while, see how it works out for me. But, if you haven’t clicked through yet, you should check out that article. There’s some interesting tips on drafts in there. Some of it might work for you. I’m all about the experiments. Stay tuned for more, or drop me a note in the comments about what you do. I might try it myself.

And, hey, Hill’s got a great line about writing: “I just want story. Story and a little music.”

Ain’t that the truth.