Skip to content

The Peter Elbow Challenge

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

Peter Elbow discusses in Writing Without Teachers the developmental model on the writing process. His thought is to write it four times, not once, and try to help the piece evolve through these four versions.

Through these four re-visions, you work through four stages of the growing process:

  1. Start writing and keep writing. Don’t write well; write a lot and write fast.
  2. Chaos and disorientation - Proceed without a full plan or allow yourself to depart from whatever plan you have.
  3. Emerging Center of Gravity - Force yourself to sum up even if it doesn’t fit your material or seem to be right. In effect, these early summing-ups are centers of gravity but because they are so bad, they don’t feel like centers of gravity.
  4. Editing - Work your way up to the top with summing-ups, then work your way down again to clean and tighten things up. Every word omitted keeps another reader with you.
On Writing

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


Related Posts

Members Public

Responses help your reader

If your audience locks into the emotional journey of your main character, then they’ll know how to respond when your character responds.  If a stranger approaches and the main character seems relaxed, then the audience will be comfortable as well. If they seem threatened, there’ll be tension.  Your

Members Public

A Novel is like a party

“For me, a novel is like a party. Anybody who wants to join in can join in, and those who wish to leave can do so whenever they want.” — Haruki Murakami

Members Public

What's it for?

Seth Godin recently asked two questions in a blog post: "Who's it for? What's it for?" When writing, do you know who it's for? It doesn't have to be an audience with a capital "A." It doesn't have to be for any audience; it can be for just you. But