Rough Draft vs. Working Draft

roughdraft_wikihow

Image Source: WikiHow

Rough Draft = Present Tense (Visualizing the story)

When I write the Rough Draft for my stories, I’ve discovered that I tend to write in the present tense in order tell myself the story.  This where I “Tell, don’t show.” When I write my rough drafts, I could almost call these “discovery” drafts because I’m discovering the story and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  I’m trying to accurately put on paper the visuals that I see in my head and that means that I’m not worrying about the audience.  I’m trying to make sure that my plot makes sense (what’s happening in the story), the characters make sense (their motivations and why they do the things I envision), and the setting makes sense (where everything’s happening).  This is where all the notes that I’ve taken/written down about the story get put into the structure of a story (Exposition, Opening Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action/Resolution) to see if they work correctly as a story.  I’m simply relating to myself what I “see” in my mind and trying to accurately form/shape it into a story.

Work_In_Progress_cucsadotorgdotuk

Image Source: CUCSA cucsa.org.uk

Working Draft = Past Tense (Dramatizing the story)

The Working Draft is sort of my shortened name for a “Work-in-Progress Draft.”  This is where I do the REAL work for the audience.  This is where characters names get finalized, this is where dialogue becomes more than a place holder and is what I believe that the characters really would say.  This is where vivid details and description comes into play, this is where I really begin to try to “Show, don’t tell.”  I try to find places to show emotions, to appeal to the five senses, and to foreshadow events crucial to the rising action and the climax.  This is where my goals as the creator meets the needs of the audience.  How can I best tell my story (that I came up with in the Rough Draft) that engages and exhilarates the audience?  What techniques or effects can I use to maximum effect?  This is where I do the “hard work” of writing.  And the cool thing is that it isn’t set in stone–if I’m happy with the draft, I can stop and move onto the editing and submission phases, but if I’m not happy, I can go back and fix what isn’t working (which I did for the ending of Silence Will Fall) or I can start all over and re-draft the whole thing again from scratch–which I plan to do for Rocket-Man.)

I believe that a lot of my trouble (& I would suspect other writers as well) comes from the fact that for stories where I don’t lay the groundwork and do the rough draft (or the outline, or any of the other myriad words for prewriting), I find that the Working Draft RARELY (if ever) matches the vision that I had in my head for the story.  And the opposite is true, I find that the more I use rough drafts and the more I use prewriting strategies, the more confident I am in the writing process and the more enjoyable the Working Draft stage becomes.

Summer Inspiration & Writing Projects

Typewriterinthefield_Pinterest

Now that E3 is over, I find myself turning my attention back to my creative writing.  I found that I’ve been very inspired to create new projects over the last few weeks and I’ve been brainstorming several.  On Friday afternoon, I actually just took a moment and sat at the kitchen table and wrote the “rough draft” of a new short-story (fantasy) that I want to write.  I wrote it from the outline I’d written earlier in the year and the drafting process was super easy as well as very rewarding creatively.

Now comes the much more difficult part, drafting a “Working Draft,” which is my terminology for the draft that “shows, don’t tell.”  The Working Draft forms the basis of the story that people will be reading.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to write it, but the as many creative people will tell, the true joy is in the initial creation of the work.  The rough draft was pure creativity, but the Working Draft is about evolution and refinement.  Often, the success of the project hinges on how well I can translate the passion of the rough draft into the refinement of the Working Draft.  This is where characterization, sensory details, imagery, dialogue, setting, etc., all get “set” into place.

ProjectOPaK_renaissanceclothingcostumes

Image Source: RenaissanceClothingCostumes.com

Project OPaK

So this is my new naming convention for stories that I’m working on.  In most cases, I already know what the title is.  Project OPaK is just the first letters of the title.  I’ve divided the story into three parts (Beginning, Middle, and End) and I will update you when I’ve finished each of the main parts, with a beginning update letting you know when I’ve actually started writing the project.  At the end, when I’ve finished Project OPaK, I will continue to do an Author’s Note and give a detailed breakdown of the genesis of the work (how it came into being, what my writing process was for it, etc.).  If it gets published in a hardcopy form, I will also try to remember to take pictures of the work and post those pics on the blog (like I did for The Last GunKnight, but forgot to do for other projects). The above picture, while not representative of the actual characters in the story, gives a good idea of the time period and themes that I’m aiming for within Project OPaK.

Here’s to a successful writing project–and a successful summer of developing many more!

 

 

Concepts

2016-Audi-R10-Concept-Cars

CONCEPT CARS

Check out this fabulous Audi 2016 concept car.  I happened across a Wall Street Journal video on their app on Apple TV covering the 2016 Japanese car show and they showcased quite a few concept cars.

I started thinking about the idea of concept cars and how car makers use them as a “test bed” to test out various ideas and technologies.  I wondered why I, as a writer, couldn’t try something similar.  I have multiple ideas for projects in various different genres–short stories, novels, graphic novels, and screenplays.  However, the only thing that I’ve put together consistently are short-stories.

CONCEPT WRITING

I have notebooks full of ideas (what writer doesn’t, after all?), but they are all still just ideas.  I’m not really happy with not writing even though I know that the GRE and applying for Graduate programs are important, but I feel like I just figured out how to tell a great story with “Here Be Monsters,” and I don’t want to lose what I’ve learned.

I’m going to see if I can’t take half an hour (about all the time I can really spare these days 😦 )and try to generate as many “Concepts” as I can each day–probably only 1 per day if I’m realistic.  This way I’m still writing and creating, even if I’m not formally working on a draft, and if one of them really strikes me, I can work on a rough draft while prepping for the GRE and Grad school admissions.

ANNE MCCAFFREY

Now this idea isn’t really novel or unique.  I feel that I must give a shoutout to the late Anne McCaffrey as this idea is really just an extension of her “Tunings” that she Melony explain in her Harper Hall Trilogy.  What?  Haven’t read this trilogy by Anne McCaffrey?  Run, don’t walk, to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the library and find this trilogy.  I put it far above the depressing stuff that passes for fantasy these days (yes, Song of Fire & Ice, I’m looking disapprovingly at you when I say this).  Anyway, my “Concepts” are a lot like Melony’s “Tunings,” just little practice pieces that will allow me to get a handle on themes, characters, settings, plots, and emotions that I want to display in the piece.  Possible epigraphs, snatches of dialogue, potential scenes, and hinted resolutions should find their way into these “Concepts,” so that when it is time to start writing again, I (hopefully) won’t have to relearn all the lessons that I learned from HBM all over again. 🙂