Conant Gardens Readers

{January 24, 2011}   DRAFTING



When I write a story, it comes directly from my head. I just type it. I already know what is happening in each chapter as if it was already been written before. Some cannot do that. If you are one of these people, then don’t worry about it so much; it’s no big deal really.

Although I do at times, have to map the story details down in a small black journal. In that journal are my notes on the characters, setting, storyline, intricate details, and the prompts that I need to remember. I ALWAYS SAVE my work on disk, or floppy, or flash drive. I read the first copy of my manuscript at least six times before doing a total revision or saving the second draft. This is your next step.


After scribbling intricate notes about a storyline or idea, I usually begin to map out the details of the storyline and its characters. Next I try to figure out my setting. Then I develop various descriptions including the sensory details, plot, and conflicts. This is an example of a route I may take, but not for every story. You are ready to WRITE or have you written the first draft already?.

So now what?

Read what you have written. Does it make sense? Does it (story) flow? Did you answer any questions that need to be answered? Remember you’re not only going to be the WRITER of this manuscript, you are also the first reader. Thus you must determine how does it sound to you? If you don’t like it, will your readers?

So now what?

Read it again slowly this time, and try to visualize what you have written and REVISE the story to where it makes even more sense. How many times do you read the story? Less than six times means you are a lazy WRITER and so will your story be as well. Don’t be LAZY! You wanted to WRITE a story, right? ‘Then do it right, or not at all!’ as my grandmother would say. 

If you are like me, DYSLEXIC, then try READING what you have written first. Then you should allow an experienced proofreader to be the next person reviewing your manuscript. I will say it again; I REFUSE to let any limitations stop me from WRITING and a proofreader will always be my best evaluator.

REVISING is not a bad thing. If you have to take out paragraphs or change a phrase or two, then do just that. Spelling, grammar, and punctuality means a lot to a manuscript. Spelling must be accurate. Using a computer in these times is a useful thing. With Microsoft Word, corrections are immediately corrected and sometimes the software will correct as you type. With a computer nowadays, you can write your first draft of your story, and change words on a page or in a paragraph more rapidly if there is a need. So ‘thank God’ for the world’s computers.

SAVING your work on the computer, floppy, and flash drive should be a major PRIORTY. Always SAVE the FIRST DRAFT, so that you can compare it with your second DRAFT. Then attempt to re-write the REVISED portions of your manuscript. By SAVING the 1st DRAFT and then completing the REVISION, you can learn to WRITE, and WRITE better each time.

You shouldn’t need a proofreader to help with your first draft. Some writers can’t live without proofreaders. I say, why should they? A second set of eyes can put a WRITER at an advantage.

Using family members to proofread is usually not a good idea, so I’ve learned. Most family members are bias. They don’t want to upset you, so they will encourage your writing with their best intentions. I have been writing since the age of fourteen. Some family and friends have read some of my work. Some of them really liked it, but only a few have encouraged me to continue my CRAFT. There are other family members who still haven’t read any my books at all. This is not because they don’t like me, but because they don’t READ books. Not all of your family members or friends will be a part of your fan club. Sorry, but that’s the reality folks! Thus never focus on what they will READ. WRITE for you first!

Allow your first true reader of your story to be someone outside your inner circle. Proofreaders who are not family, friends, or associates may be just what you need to give you an objective review. Be open to their suggestions. Always advise that person that this is your first draft, and that you are lenient and able to revise your work if necessary.

After everything is read and corrected to your satisfaction, now move on. You have done well this far and even I am proud of your efforts. I, a DYSLEXIC, can so far and I will not stop now, nor should you. You have a good manuscript, wonderful story and now a fine novel. So take a huge leap of faith and publish what you have written. Publish it for yourself first, family and friends second, and third make some money. CONGRADULATIONS, YOU ARE A WRITER! But “don’t get cocky yet, it aint over yet kid,” as Hans Solo says in Star Wars.

Before you climb any more steps, let’s rest and do some deep breathing. Let’s recap what we have learned. Writers do have to recap what they have done so far, or let’s say re-think all we have talked about.


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