For those of you wondering what writing has to do with humiliation I'd rather forget (*cough*, I mean, that never happened to me), there are two types of first draft writers: plotters and pantsers.
Plotters have an outline, know where their story is going, what will happen, how it will end, how many chapters it will take, and probably have their bank account number memorized.
Pantsers fly by the seat of their...pants. Their first draft is a journey into the dark, wild unknown. Who knows where this is going? Let's watch and see!
As proven by the files on my computer named "The Songwriter Outline", "The Songwriter New Outline" and "The Songwriter New Outline (Revised)", all of which are miles from where my story actually ended up, I'm not a plotter. (Although, I do have my bank account number memorized.)
When my crit partner first suggested that we exchange first chapters, I was like, "Oh, yeah! Let me just...*scroll scroll scroll* find a good place to...*scrooool* end 'Chapter One'." *furiously typing "Chapter One" at the beginnning*
Revising, for me, has been a different story. I had to have some kind of plan. I've found one I love, and it's only half because it's J.K. Rowling's personal method. Check this out:
Wait, what? You don't see how this tiny copy of a sheet of looseleaf is the key to your revising woes? Oh. Go here for the full explanation. I'll sum up.
J.K. Rowling breaks down her novel by chapters. She lists the number and title of the chapter, when (in her case, during the schoolyear) the chapter takes place and then what is happening in the chapter. She breaks this down even further, listing the main plot and each subplot and how they weave into each chapter. So, so nifty.
So, I did the same to mine. I was excited, first of all, to discover that I did, indeed, have subplots! And places to break into chapters! That's a good start. But breaking down my story like this is really helping me to keep things on track, to find ways to plant little crumbs in my reader's way so that when something is revealed they'll flip back a couple chapters and see how that little tiny bit of info was actually put there to BLOW THEIR MIND. Good stuff.
For a hardcore pantser like me (don't even get me started on the war my brother and I had that ended in near tears after an incident when I was chasing him up the stairs, after which my mom put an abrupt stop to our shenanigans), this method is super helpful. So, give it a look. I mean, it was good enough for J.K. Rowling, right?
What methods do you use when you revise?