Friday, July 6, 2007

The house that Jack built

I have a habit that might be good or might be bad.

When I'm writing a rough draft, I tend to read it through from the beginning - every time.

So after a while, I've read those first few chapters a lot more times than the last few chapters.

I read an article about revision somewhere that called this "the house that Jack built" method of revision.

Is that good or bad?

I'm not sure - but that's the way I like to do it. I need to get back in the total flow of the story, and sometimes (usually) that requires starting from the beginning again.

One thing I do know: those first chapters are pretty darned polished!

As for the last chapters? Well, maybe...not so much.

...that tossed the dog,
that worried the cat,
that killed the rat,
that ate the malt
that lay in the house that Jack built.


Anonymous said...

I'm a daily repeater, too. Gotta read the whole dang thing every time I sit down to continue...
I think this tends to make me too tied to the first half of a story, though. It starts to feel like every scene is a natural and inevitable extension of the one before. Then, when an editor offers feedback, I go, "Wha-?"

Jill Esbaum

Barbara O'Connor said...

"too tied to the first part of the story" - I think you hit the nail on the head.

Maybe we should try reading it backwards. :-)