The Journey of Your First SCP: Part III - Drafting & Critique
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PART I:
Introduction & Ideation
PART II:
Narrative & Originality
PART III:
Drafting & Critique

Your First Draft: Prioritise

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing

— Stephen Covey


Your article's main focus is to deliver a story to your audience. The anomaly is defined in the description and the story is (usually but not always) shown via addenda. This means that the Special Containment Procedures, Item Number and Object Class only exist as in-universe flavour. With that in mind, here are my do's and do nots of drafting your first SCP.

Do's

  • Begin writing your description. Flesh out the anomaly to set up for the addenda.
  • Write addenda. Detailing the story is important to do right.
  • Take breaks. There's no rush in publishing your draft to the mainsite. Make sure you're totally happy with it at all stages.
  • Get early critique. Some people don't like giving critique on unfinished drafts, so ask if it's ok beforehand.

Do not's

  • Worry about the Special Containment Procedures. While these come first in the document, they're some of the least important elements of your article out-of-universe.
  • Worry about Object Class. Same as above. Don't fret about "should this be Euclid or Keter?".
  • Delete your draft. If you think an idea's worth doing, you're probably right. Don't scrap the road because of some roadblocks. Take a break and try to think around the problem.
  • Coldpost. This should go without saying: Critique is important. You may feel like your draft is the best it could possibly be, but critique can point out unnecessary details, errors in SPaG and logic, and provide alternate ways to work a draft.

Getting Critique: Learning From Mistakes

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

— Norman Vincent Peale


When I first tried to get my works onto the SCP Wiki back in 2014 I got some fair feedback: my idea sucked. I had never tried my hand at creative writing before, so the feedback hit me really hard. I left the site for about four years because of it. This is because I wasn't getting critique to get better, I was getting critique so people would tell me how good my draft was.

It sounds obvious, but your primary motivation for getting critique should be to accept that your draft has flaws and learn from it. The more you go to get critique expecting praise, the more likely you are to be disappointed. Praise is rare in critique, so when you do receive it, it tastes oh so sweet.

Critique from an experienced critter is invaluable: every sentence they provide to you drips with purpose. The mind correlates importance with repetition, but golden nuggets of critique generally come in small packages. Re-read critique and understand that you need to listen to each word, not just the spelling corrections.

If a critter asks you a question, try to understand what lead them to ask it. Perhaps they needed some clarifications with the intentions of the draft? Fair enough. But if an experienced critter doesn't understand something in your draft, you should acknowledge that the draft fails to carry your intentions and edit it accordingly.

Generic Tips

  • Don't rely on critique from real-life friends or family. They probably won't know the standards of the site and may be excessively light in their feedback.
  • Get critique from multiple people (and remember who from!). Aim for three people as the bare minimum, each at a different point in time.
  • Real-time crit and forum crit are different. The back-and-forth of real-time critique makes it better suited for bouncing ideas off each other for the beginning and end of your draft. Forum crit, on the other hand, tends to be more in-depth and higher quality due to the criticism policy.

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Remember to read the How To Write An SCP guide before posting. Best of luck!

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