Snippets of an Author’s Life: Post 5
If you’re the kind of author who initially overwrites, fear not.
Drafts are discovery.
The process even has its own genre, either adventure or mystery. Once you have ideas out of your head and laid out in front of you, you can see what you need to see.
Think of your early drafts as the map of a maze. You’re looking at the top view and see the whole structure at once. Now you can trace the path of the main plot from start to finish. The rest is just dead ends.
As the path becomes prominent, you disregard the rest of the map. Was all that other writing a waste of time? Hardly. In writing those many words, you have explored other possibilities and directions, considered them, but they weren’t the solution. Instead, your solution lay nearby, and your plot twists became defined and supported by the entire structure.
You may have more than one path through the maze, or your main path branches out and later reunites. These paths can be loosely defined as subplots or the paths of supporting characters.
Rough drafts aid the process of finding the true plot and defining it. Once you see it, you have a story that moves fluidly from beginning to end, from problem to solution.