>First Draft VS Rewriting

R&D Studio artwork. Just for fun.

I find rewriting fun. First draft is hard work. It’s scary because I set off with an idea and a couple of characters … and that’s it. The story grows.

One of the lists I’m on has been debating the differences between being a Pantser and Plotter.

Plotters plan the whole book beforehand and can write chapter ten before they do chapter four. I can’t imagine writing like that. I’m a Pantser (Seat of the Pants writer). I find out what’s going on as the characters do. It makes writing the book exciting but hard work, because I’m constantly interrupted by my family, so I have to keep characters, world and narrative threads fresh in my mind over months.

By the time I get around to the rewriting, I can relax and thread through the character layers and subtleties that I look for when I read books. Without a deadline, the temptation is to keep rewriting for ever.

Having worked on some very long multi book narratives now, the only way I can keep it all straight in my head is to create a scene by scene breakdown in a separate document. Then, if I want to insert a character clue in a particular scene, I can find that scene without having to scroll through the document looking for it. I create maps, lists of terms and their meanings, character descriptions (did minor character X have a broken nose?) and I keep spare deleted scenes in a file. Obsessive Compulsive?

I think to be a creative person in any field you have to be a little bit obsessive. In the nicest possible way.


  1. >I much prefer the first draft. By the time the second draft comes around I already know what’s going to happen– I get bored going over and over it again and again.Scott R

  2. >I love that term – Pantser! It makes me realize what some of my writing problems are (besides a complete disillusionnment with the publishing biz). Thanks!

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