Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Second draft in progress

Yes, I'm posting too much lately. I'm seriously considering starting another blog as a place to dump thoughts on writing and music practice, without cluttering this blog. The catch is coming up with a name for it and filling in that new blog application form. Commitment is scary.

Moving on...

Based partially on the drafting discussion on Click Thing a few weeks back, I've decided to write at least one more draft of my short story on the typewriter before either typing it into the computer (my usual MO) or attempting to OCR it. I test-scanned a page of text from the new SG3 this morning and was pleasantly surprised at how well it translated. I was afraid the odd typeface would throw the software for a loop: even with the cleanest typeface, I've not had good luck with that particular software (the free program that came with my cheapie flat-bed Canon). There were three minor glitches, and that's it. I may try it. Wouldn't want to scan a whole novel that way, but ten double-spaced pages (less, if I do this right) shouldn't be too bad.

I finished the rough draft of this story night before last. It was *very* rough -- I had decided the most important thing was to push myself to finish. Last night, I went over the whole thing with purple pen. I was brutal. On careful reading, the most obvious problem was my tendency to babble: often I take many times longer than necessary to express a thought. I chopped off whole *pages* that just slowed the little plot down. I also changed a major part of the plot (killed the husband of one of the two characters instead of leaving him dying...), which made her motivation a little more logical. The ending is still a bit fuzzier than I'd prefer, but the changes I've made should bring that into better focus this time around.

I'm pretty pleased with my progress! I'm not sure I could do this sort of in-depth editing and revision with a full manuscript without resorting to the computer, but it does make for better prose. I'll probably do one more draft after this one. Gives me excuses to play with the typewriter, for one....

5 comments:

mpclemens said...

Yay! Drafting!

I'm just about done with Stephen King's On Writing and am plowing through a first draft of a story he's tucked in at the end.

It's bad. Rambling over-descriptive hard-slog nasty bad. And I hope that's his point: the first draft will Suck with a capital UCK, but it's easier to edit than author. Once it's on the page, show that draft no mercy.

Anonymous said...

Stay with the typewriter for that second draft! I just finished the draft of my 2nd short story ever and the editing starts tomorrow (by hand). If the revisions are extensive enough, and they will be for this one, the second draft gets done on the new SG1. (What a fantastic machine!!) The third and final draft gets typed into the computer. I have found that doing the first two drafts on the typewriter makes a HUGE difference. Besides, it's more fun to use the typer.

Mike, I've read a fair number of books on creative writing and the Stephen King book is the best, bar none. It's a great collection of practical approaches and proper attitude. It's been a big help to me.

Jeff

mpclemens said...

Yes, keep rewriting on the typewriter if you can. I'm formulating a "what I've learned so far" blog entry that'll talk up this book. It's a good read.

ducly said...

What is OCR?
I've heard this before. Does it work on Evernote?

Elizabeth H. said...

OCR = "Optical Character Recognition." In a nutshell, it is software that can look at a picture of a page of text (i.e. a scanned image of a typed page), and translate the picture to editable text that you can cut and paste and otherwise edit in a word processor. Usually it will make mistakes (mine doesn't recognize the ! in my SG3's typeface, for example, and puts in | instead) and need manual correction and cleanup, but it can be faster than just retyping the text to get it in digital format. So far, I've always retyped.

I don't know what Evernote is, so I don't know if it has OCR capabilities built in. A lot of word processors do...but not all OCR packages are created equal, to say the least.