It’s traditional to say you must finish one draft before you can revise. You’ll find that traditions often are more prescriptive than descriptive, telling you what someone thinks ought to work rather than what necessarily does work for any one individual.
Revising Before You Finish a Draft
The plotter needs to address some high-level revision as soon as finishing the outline, before any manuscript even gets written. Don’t go to the trouble of writing all the scenes for a flawed plot, then have to throw out thirty thousand words, when you can catch those problems in the outline. That’s the plotter’s built-in advantage, to have the plot strongly built before writing, ready to support all those wonderful characters and fascinating narrative.
If pantsers or railroaders find themselves stalled halfway through a draft, they may need to stop and check their plot. The problem may be a big plot snag. It may be a character that isn’t working out. It may be part of the world or society or how reality works that needs to change. It may be an information hole you need to fill. High-level revision tools can help you figure this out and how to fix it.
Revise Later — Much Later
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