Troy Kirby

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Segmenting redrafts

Anyone can get a first draft out. They just pound the keys, do a few things, and move on. I like to segment out my first draft ideas. When I get to specific segment of writing in which I know it is going to be interesting, I put the two documents side by side, and rewrite that segment about four or five times.

You heard me: four or five times.

Why? Because it creates for a more interesting story. And if you have some writing gold in a specific segment, you may lose momentum by waiting until after the entire piece is complete before rewriting.

An example:

In "Crunk," I started getting a good feeling for who Irish Pete was. During the parts about his house, I randomly threw some wording in about dead animals. Instead of waiting until the entire first draft was complete, I went back and rewrote that portion about four or five times.

Instead of just a small bit about dead animals, it became indicative of his entire character. The fact that he stuffed and mounted large exotic animals, placing them around his house. The way that the interior of his home was actually dirty, full of cobwebs, showed that he was also very cheap and lived alone.

Another bit was how Sully killed Angel. Instead of it being easy as it was the first time I wrote it, by expanding upon the issue several times, I made it difficult. It became an emotional thing for him. A first kill that so disgusted him that he was unsure he even knew himself. After it was finished, I have him standing naked in his pad, watching the sunrise in front of his bedroom window. That is telling in how cathartic the entire situation was. How it made him entirely.

Too many writers seemed to jam a few drafts of something without segmenting. To each their own, but I think that you have a better chance of learning who your characters are by segmenting. The ability to enhance specific areas of the text or story, which builds into the psyche of who each character is.

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