5 Types of Rough Drafts

By Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Last week I finished a rough draft of my newest novel. You think you know what I mean, right? Well, maybe not, little cowboy. What a rough draft means to me might mean something totally different to you, and sure as heck is not the same as what Great Aunt Martha thinks it is. So today we’re going to do some defining . . .

5 Types of Rough Drafts

Word Vomit

Sorry for the visual. Think of this one as stream of consciousness type of writing. An amplified version.A type-anything-and-everything-because-hot-dang-something-might-be-great-in-this-mess kind of mindset. Most often this is the type of first draft accomplished by partaking in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Tighty Whitey

Bare bones. Tight writing. So tight, in fact, that there’s lots of white space because this is only the essence of a story. There will have to be lots of additional information added. Basically, it’s a glorified synopsis.

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Practically Perfect

This puppy takes a long time to write because plot flow, words, and characters are well thought out, not just slapped down willy-nilly. Sure, there will be a few nits to comb out, but overall this rough draft is about as smooth as a baby’s behind.


Some writers pen only dialogue on their first pass of a book. They simply put their characters on stage and let them talk. Settings and character descriptions will be added in later.

Outline on Steroids

This is the opposite of the screenplay approach. Basically, it’s a this-happens-then-that-happens live-action play for the entire story.

The thing to note about all these approaches is that there isn’t any one “right” way to go about penning your first draft. All are valid. As for me, I’m of the Practically Perfect persuasion, and not just because it’s fun to say. I’m just a little OCD that way.


12 Days at Bleakly Manor

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent andGallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.the next level.