Drafting, Crafting, Polishing

I’m not a fan of the word revise when referring to changes a writer makes to a work prior to receiving the input of an editor.  To revise a manuscript, in my opinion, is to take a completed work and make alterations for the purpose of publication—alterations which will hopefully improve the piece for the reading audience.

When I first start working on a piece, I start by drafting.  At this stage, I get the story, the article, the blog post, the chapter, or the poem on paper or on the screen.  Sometimes it takes only one draft to finish a piece.  Sometimes that draft is almost exactly as it should be.  Other times it takes several drafts before I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten everything down.  By everything, I mean everything that makes the piece whole, not everything needed to make the piece ready for readers.  I’m not finished drafting until I have whatever it takes to communicate to myself what this work is supposed to be down on paper.

I don’t revise my drafts.  I craft them.  First, I go over the macro of the last draft.  Do I like the major elements?  Or do I need to tweak them?  Then, I go over the major chunks of text.  This could be chapters, sub-headers, whatever.  I try to determine whether they are understandable and appropriately paced, whether they try to communicate too much or too little.  After that, I go paragraph by paragraph.  Does it flow?  Line by line.  Does it say what I meant?  Word by word.  Did I choose the best words, or words that were just good enough?

I don’t revise my crafted manuscripts.  I polish them.  Generally, I do catch most grammatical and spelling mistakes in the crafting stage, because they affect flow, meaning, and word selection.  However, I go over the manuscript at least once more looking for mistakes, reading like a reader, seeing the piece as it would be seen, reading it as it would be read.

Then, I submit.  Or post it.  Or whatever I do with it.  If someone comes back to me and says, “Hey, this doesn’t work.”  Then, I revise, or maybe I don’t.  It depends—are they right?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces ComeSootheYourAchingSoul.com in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of www.StephanieAllenCrist.com and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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