Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Vision of Revision (aka "Photographic Evidence of Debbie's Unhealthy Relationship With Her Printer")

As is the case for most writers, my writing process varies widely from project to project. But, generally speaking, for picture book stories, I begin with a rhyming kernel scribbled on a scrap of paper. Then I progress to a stanza or two written on a notepad. Once I've got a few stanzas and a general idea of where I'm going with the story, I head over to my computer and create a scaffolding, which usually consists of a few complete stanzas and a lot of blank lines to fill in.

I then work with pen or pencil to add to it, type up what I have, reprint, read what I have out loud over and over, write more, type it up, print, read aloud, change words, change stanzas, scribble, mutter, then type up again, print again, write and mutter again, type and print again, lather, rinse, repeat, over and over, twenty or forty or eighty (billion) times.

Here's a general idea of what collects along the way. Each of the stapled sets here is a four or five page draft of my current work in progress. (Not pictured are about half of the drafts, as they're scattered in miscellaneous places around the house. Also not pictured are the marked up drafts from my critique group, from two different critiquing sessions.)

Bear in mind that the complete story consists of a total of 424 words. I've probably gone through half a ream of paper already, and it's not done yet.

I'm thinking a large donation to the Arbor Day Foundation might be in order...


Lori Van Hoesen said...

I love the picture. It takes a lotta drafts to make it sound like it just took one. ;o)

Jacqui said...

This looks very familiar, but add in several drafts written longhand on cheap notebook paper.