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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Love it, Lose it: how to transform that awful first draft

Take one rather annoying electronic toy, and 1 flabby first draft, and what do you get?
Well, Love it, Lose it, of course.

It's tricky for writers to be brave enough to make significant changes to Draft 1. Not when they've spent so long on it. So all too often, Draft 2 becomes just another copy of Draft 1. Only a little neater.

Sound familiar?
Here's a handy way to force you to take risks and actually transform your writing, rather than just copy it out again.

It's called Love it, Lose it. And we at W4R love it...

So how do you use it?
First, write Draft 2 at the top of a clean page.
Next, search for your killer line. Be patient. It'll be there somewhere, hiding like a little speck of diamond in all that rough copy.
If you're lucky, it'll jump out at you, all bright and shining.
Once located, grasp your killer line firmly in both hands and shove it at the top of your page where it belongs.
Doesn't matter if your story doesn't begin here. Maybe it should.
And most professional writers get rid of the first couple of chapters anyway, and begin where all the action is, at chapter 3 or 4.
So be bold.
Put that killer line in. Now. Go on. Do it.

Favourite killer lines at W4R are:

My name is 245324 and I am not dangerous.
The day I was seized by a lion I was dressed as a peacock.
There are nine days until my world ends.
Blue is the cruellest colour.
124 was spiteful.
It was the day my grandmother exploded.

You get the idea.

Next - lose it. Simply delete the ordinary, obliterate the mediocre, scrawl out those cliches, lose all that boring, repetitive stuff.
Lose. The. Flab.

Steal it is fun.Writers read. A lot. So be a magpie and make a note of all those fab phrases in your W4R notebook (all writers should have one). You don't hae to copy them exactly, but they'll be useful when all you can think of is an ordinary word or metaphor. Writers should never be ordinary. Also steal phrases from your writerly friends. They'll be flattered. Truly. And you should all be reading each others' stuff all the time. It's called critiquing and there'll be on that later.

Flip it and twist it are ways to get the creative part of your brain working (which will already be well-developed as a writer). Use what if? questions to completely change your POV, setting, action.
What if your protag was a boy instead of a girl?
What if all this happened in the pouring rain not blistering sun?
What if you took that car-chase at the end and shoved it at the beginning? So it became your killer line, perhaps?

Love it, lose it.
You've got to love it.

W4R students get the opportunity to interview Gino D'Acampo!

Rule Number 1:
Always make sure that students have real opportunities to practise their writing skills.
So... an  opportunity to interview the fantastico Gino D'Acampo, anyone?