You hear a lot about drafts when hanging out with authors. Zero Draft, Rough Draft, Final Draft...They sound a bit like superhero names. "Zero Draft vs. The Creative Seize." But while I'm a big reviser, and I believe wholeheartedly in reworking a story as many times as possible, in cutting repetition, adding detail, trimming, polishing and mixing around a story, I'm not entirely sure I have this draft thing down correctly.
In fact, I'm a bit terrified of it.
When I hear other writers talking about their "drafts" and which draft they're on and how many drafts it takes to get to their final, finished book, I sometimes have the sneaking suspicion that they are talking about completely rewriting the entire manuscript. You know, they say something like, "I do three drafts." or "The first draft is just to work out the plot." I imagine (with horrified concern) that they pen a 100thousand word story, and then set it aside and start....over. Completely over. On fresh paper, over.
Insert slasher flick damsel in distress scream here.
I can't do that. That's not me whining or even making a joke. I can't do it. Can't. All caps CAN'T. I know this because I once dreamed of being a comic book/animation artist. It was all I wanted in the world until I found out you have to draw the same thing...over and over and over. No thank you. Game over.
I suffer from terminal boredom. Repetition like that gives me major hives. I may adore my characters, love my plot and even want to read my story over and over, but to actually WRITE it again? No thank you. I'll hack at it with a chainsaw and fill in the gaps with better work, yes. I'll kill everything that shouldn't be in it and make it new, but to just set aside a whole draft. . . There are good words in there too, right? I need those good words. Waste not, my zero draft effort, for even if there are only thirty thousand out of one hundred gems in there, I am not about to toss away one of them.
Maybe that makes me lazy, or maybe it makes me vain, or who knows what it makes me, I just don't do do overs. I do versions, many, many versions and each is definitely an improvement on the last. If the secret rule I'm missing is rewrite completely, well, I think I'm going to pretend that I never heard that.
But just out of curiosity, I'd love to know if anyone out there works on a chuck it and re-do it basis.
If you do, you scary, scary creatures, you deserve a medal.