Category Archives: drafts

Ditching Drafts

When I began writing, I’d come up with an idea, write a first draft, and revise until it was done. Repeat process. I’d heard of authors keeping folders full of abandoned drafts. The idea of unfinished stories reminded me of plants yearning for a drink.

In an early effort to avoid online draft hoarding, I sat down and wrote a list of story ideas with a few points around plot, character, etc. This would keep all my ideas in one tidy place. I was green, thinking I could control the writerly brain from doing what it wanted.

Alas, I have a bulging drafts folder, where first drafts, half-drafts, ideas, and story tidbits are kept. Nothing moves from here until it is submission worthy, then it graduates to the almighty folder: Julie’s Stories. Let’s just say the drafts folder is getting a lot bigger than that of the finished works.

I try to clean up my files every so often because redundant crap irritates me. Before computers, I hated keeping papers of most everything. If I got a bill, I paid it and then promptly threw it away. I’ve also been known to recycle newspapers before people have a chance to read them.

So what to do about this ever blossoming drafts folder? A part of me wants to take the whole thing and throw it in the trash. Why not, another one will grow in its place. A voice inside says NO, you can’t get rid of anything, you never know when you might go back to an idea. I agree to a point, but clutter, whether it’s on the computer or in my immediate environment gnaws away and infects my creative process.

I will be discerning and only let crazy nonsensical ramblings make their way to the bin.

Files labeled Fucking Idiot, Perverse Dialogue, Sneezing Attack, and Housewife have been deleted, and it feels great.

Short Story Process

*idea formulating for a month or longer in brain
*longhand scribbling
*1-4 pages
*very crude, little resemblence to final story
*stream of consciousness
*done in quiet place, no distractions
*little dialogue written in
*little to no formatting
*sometimes this draft will sit a long while

*typed onto computer
*bit more detail, added scenes
*length often doubles
*bit more structure, paragraphs
*choose appropriate P.O.V. and tense
*all drafts printed, revised on paper, then typed to computer

*dialogue added
*cutting unimportant characters, scenes
*taking a closer look at structure, time line
*focus on showing, not telling

*cementing time line
*fleshing out character descriptions
*begin to recognize themes, symbols emerging
*begin to read aloud, see how story and dialogue sound
*removing redundant info, words

*usually 8-12 drafts total when fiinished
*story begins to shrink in length
*strengthening of verbs
*amping themes
*thinking about five senses throughout story
*letting someone read/workshop when close to done

*process is a neverending process