The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision

Sandra Scofield. Penguin, $17 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-14-313135-9
As Scofield (A Chance to See Egypt) cheerfully points out in this thorough and detailed writing guide, a novel is not finished until it has undergone a careful and thorough revision. Drawing deeply on her own teaching and writing and using a multitude of examples from classic and contemporary fiction, she offers a meticulous guide to revising a novel. Scofield suggests first thinking about “what kind of book you want to write” and being ambitious while doing so. She then moves to process, providing clear and thoughtful exercises for blocking out scenes, writing a capsule summary, identifying elements from the first draft to retain, and finding the novel’s “vision.” Scofield includes a helpful section of resources that includes an annotated list of books on the craft of writing, examples from “model novels,” and tips on storyboarding. Some of her best advice to would-be novelists is simply to read other novels and analyze them, so as to learn the craft of fiction from those who have come before you. The lasting messages of this inspiring book are “read, read, read,” “write the best prose you can,” and “love the process and what you learn.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 05/22/2017
Release date: 12/05/2017
Audio Product - 978-1-5247-0508-4
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