Read The Last Draft

Read The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision

his wise and friendly guide shows writers how to turn first-draft manuscripts into the novels of their dreams. A critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist, Sandra Scofield illustrates how to reread a work of fiction with a view of its subject and vision, and how to take it apart and put it back together again, stronger and deeper. Scofield builds her explanations around helpful concepts like narrative structure, character agency, and core scenes, using models from classic and contemporary writers. The detailed, step-by-step plan laid out in The Last Draft offers invaluable advice to both novice and experienced writers alike. In Scofield, they will find a seasoned, encouraging mentor to steer them through this emotional and intellectual journey.

Skimmed a lot. Broken into sections, several of which were not pertinent or helpful to me. I gleaned the most from the second section, on actually making revisions. Parts three and four, about finishing and polishing the book, were embarrassingly short. It would have worked better to format this as a workbook rather than a fully prose work with some bulleted lists. I did take quite a number of notes.

She recommends keeping a revision log, with entries after each work session logging what changes you made, how you feel about it, and questions you currently have.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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