Write More Raw Material Than You Need

Will Boast

Last year, when I became a professor at the e-media department at the University of Cincinnati, I started working with more diverse media, and observing what goes into the making of even very simple videos. I worked with one of my colleagues on a 2-minute intro clip for an hour-long panel, and I assisted as he spent hours collecting footage.

His philosophy? Get far more footage than you need, from as many angles as possible.

That’s why I love this article in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, “Cutting Out the Bad Bits,” by fiction writer Will Boast. He says:

Give yourself a good deal of raw material to work with before you begin to edit. Try multiple angles—change the point of view, change the perspective. Multiple takes—write the same scene two, three, ten different ways. Allow yourself multiple performances—let your characters deliver their lines with several different inflections and respond to each other in new, unexpected ways.

Then, when you have your rough cut, mix up the chronology. Try intercutting one scene with another … as you splice different passages together, remember always that you’re working toward rhythm.

Read more of Boast’s wonderful piece over at Glimmer Train.

Upcoming Online Classes

The following two tabs change content below.
Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.
Posted in Writing Advice.


  1. YES. This has been my mantra to clients and fellow writers for as long as I’ve been writing. It’s ALWAYS easier to cut than to add in more. Great topic!

  2. Thanks, Jane, for passing this on. I did this subconsciously and now I’m grateful. I can do a whole second book from the other characters’ POVs.

  3. Pingback: In the spirit of NaNoWriMo | Christi Craig

Join the conversation