Giving the full draft of a novel the Scriva treatment

by Amber Keyser
Published on: April 23, 2011
Categories: Critique Process, Genre
Comments: No Comments

Most writers find the words to the left rather satisfying to write.  Of course, we also know that the end is never the end until the mss is pried from our zombie fingers.

When a Scriva finishes the first draft of a novel (or book length nonfiction), we usually want to get a global perspective from the other Scrivas.  It’s the only way to properly assess voice, story arc, plot consistency, character development, and other features that must be sustained throughout the entire piece.

To do this, we scrap our typical meeting structure and move into novel mode. We dedicate an entire meeting to the novel.  The writer prints and mails a full copy to each of us as far in advance as possible (ideally 3-4 weeks).  We each do a full read.  We try to resist line edits (difficult for Scrivas) because we know the details may change.  We’re reading for the bones.

Typically we provide overall feedback and pull out example passages that are really working (and therefore should be the writer’s model for revision) and ones that miss the mark.  It is helpful to suggest novels with similar features for the writer to read.

Our goals are to give the writer a concrete plan of attack for the revision and the encouragement to get right to it.


Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.

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