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.

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Posted in Writing Advice.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which 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.

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3 Comments on "Write More Raw Material Than You Need"

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Veronika Walker
Veronika Walker
5 years 21 days ago

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!

Julee Adams
Julee Adams
5 years 21 days ago

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.


[…] bound together. Will Boast said it in his essay for Glimmer Train (the link to which I found on Jane Friedman’s site): Give yourself a good deal of raw material to work with before you begin to […]