I was up late last night reading Stephen King’s “On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft”. I figured I could do with some advice on better writing — not that my writing sucks, but any little improvement is a good one.
I agreed with him on a lot of points, disagreed on some, but there’s one gaping rift here: the draft process. He suggested one draft with the door to your world closed, just get it down and on paper/bits. Then do another draft after showing the first one to other people, notably an Ideal Reader you trust, some friends and colleagues, etc.
Right now, I’m not doing that. My first draft is the open-door draft, posted as it’s written for all to see. Then I spellcheck and call it final. And I think I’m really losing out by doing that, since it implies that the final won’t be too far from the first draft — since I wouldn’t want to have to bother my readers to read over the whole thing again to look for what’s new and different in each revision.
From now on, I’m going to reserve the right (’cause it is my right, really) to change a draft without warning in the middle of your reading it. If there’s a major change, I’ll note it in the journal or on the changelog at the top of the file, but I’m also going to do minor changes on my final revision step that you might not notice. Rewording a sentence for better readability. Juggling words around so they fit the characters better. Tweaks and tuneups that make the story more solid and of a higher quality. I can’t track every single mod I make, so caveat reador — let the reader beware that a draft is just that, a draft.
Of course, if nobody reads the drafts for fear of them shifting underneath your feet, I’ll never get feedback. ^^; So the more adventurous / dedicated readers should keep on reading ’em. Anybody who would prefer not to have to reread a single word should probably wait a bit.
Example: I posted UE03 final today. LOTS of little sentence nips ‘n tucks and things. The only major plotnotable change is that the Bubble Bobble club is renamed the Technobabble club… I didn’t like directly referencing a 20th century video game when we’re thousands of years into the future. The whole of UE is distanced from Earth lore for a purpose. Another change was made to UE04, actually — the whole ‘People eat junk food for a reason’ chat was a duplicate from UE03 and I hadn’t realized it, so I made Mallory point that out.
More to come.