OpenFiction [Blog]

One day I’ll count…

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on December 11, 2007

…the number of posts I’ve written that start with “I’m working on the novel again…”

Anyway, a quick note on a revision technique: Because I’m a bit of a writing simpleton, I usually end up in first draft with relatively flat one-dimensional secondary characters. I mention in the OpenFiction course materials that I usually can keep no more than about three goals in mind as I’m drafting, and that usually consists of portraying the protagonist’s inner world, moving the plot forward in some way and some sort of descriptive or language element. I usually don’t have the bandwidth on the first pass to fully enter the interior life of secondary characters to flesh out their actions in a given scene.

For this reason, I end up doing at least one redraft of key scenes with secondary characters that I call a “sympathetic draft.” The point here is to specifically reimagine the scene from the antagonist’s point of view, to take the approach that they are the main character for at least one draft and look for the compelling reasons for their actions. I’m not always sure how much of it makes it onto the paper, but I definitely come to understand these characters better through the exercise, which can’t help but influence their behavior later in the book.


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