Sandra Scofield’s The Last Draft, A Novelist’s Guide to Revision is a useful book for writers who have completed the first draft of their novel and need help in producing the final – polished version. I’ve never owned books that offer help with writing in the past. This is my first. Writing, for me, is instinctive. I’ve never needed an instruction manual. So I did approach this one with a certain amount of cynicism.
Scofield is a critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist with many writing workshops to her credit. In this book, she offers practical tips on how to re-look at the vision you have for your novel and approach the writing process with the new, improved larger picture in mind.
“Revision is a significantly different process because you work from a complete manuscript rather than a moving platform. Also, there is more analytical work in revision, more deliberate application of craft.”Sandra Scofield
She gives helpful suggestions in each chapter and what personally worked for me, are the exercises that have been listed at every step of the way. You get to compare your novel with other books in the same genre and analyse how the authors have approached the theme and the narrative arc. This is a book for novices as well as experienced writers.
The Last Draft is a book that you can keep coming back to. As Scofield herself points out, a lot will change in the writing. Later, you will come back to the same questions, the same advice, the same exercises, and find you have gone somewhere altogether different from where you were headed. That’s just fine. That’s writing. The real book might appear in the margins of your draft. You can’t revise what you haven’t written down.
Note: This is NOT a paid review. I put up reviews of books that I buy as and when I feel like it.
The Last Draft
A Novelist’s Guide to Revision