The Plagiarist: Thoughts on the Rough Draft

So, that’s the bones of the story. This is what one of my rough drafts looks like. Of course, this is a tenth the size of a book-length rough draft, but the concept is the same. The goal is to get the story down. A successful rough draft is one in which the plot is coherent and there aren’t many holes in it. I’m usually fortunate to not change the names of characters halfway through the draft. And of course, the names seen here are not necessarily the ones I’ll keep. When I’m writing in draft, I don’t want to get bogged down trying to think of the perfect name and ruin my flow. That reminds me of the music bands that spend more time coming up with their name than they spend on practicing to become great. Forget the trifles and concentrate on what’s important: and that’s FINISHING the story.

From here, if I wanted to, I could flesh this out to the size of a novella (or even a book). If I went book-length, I could either tell more of Adam’s story, or I could use the sim world concept to branch out in various other directions. Maybe the book is really about Amanda, and this is just the into to her work. Maybe she spends the rest of our story coping with the loss of Adam, of his work, of the heartless nature of the sims. Maybe the adventure goes another level deep. Maybe the book is full of “discovered” works from various worlds. All of these are valid options.

The purpose of The Plagiarist, however, is primarily as a course final. I want to keep it a readable length. So now, what I’ll do is give it two or three days to settle, then I’ll go back and do a heavy re-write. I’ll do a lot of deleting and creating. I’ll agonize over names (and probably change very few of them). That’s my first revision. After that, I’ll do another polish pass, then one for major errors, then a final one for nitpicky stuff. That should get it in shape to be read.

Stay tuned. I’ll put the final version up when I get it done. Any feedback and suggestions are appreciated!

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