23 May 2012

Into the Home Stretch

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I think I have finally reached that point in my first draft. The part of my process where I think I have emptied my brain of all the major stuff that will be in the book (in terms of structure and plot – themes and further development of the content will continue to be refined). As I don’t write in order (even though I’ve tried very hard to), what I have is a whole lot of scenes, paragraphs and dialogue snippets that now needed to be weaved together to make some sort of cohesive draft. This process always takes me a lot longer than I anticipate, and I end up adding a lot more words than I expected. That’s why I’m not worried that I only have 70,200 words when I want to end up closer to 80. Last time I went through this process I added nearly 20,000 words, although I feel as if this draft is more complete than that one was – I have tried very hard to ensure I have all the parts of the hero’s journey/3-act structure covered off.

For me it’s very much like a jigsaw puzzle, except some of the pieces are blank at the start of the process. As I figure out the plot and develop the characters with random bursts of insight, more pieces are revealed. Now I’m at the point where I can see what the picture in the puzzle is, but I need to fill in the gaps between the major pieces. It’s a trying process as I work to think of settings for dialogue and action, or flesh out scenes where I’ve made notes on what will happen… but I haven’t made it happen. I also need to make sure it flows for the reader, rather than jumping through time, and that my POV alternates regularly and with a reasonably equal share between my two MCs. And I’m sure I’ll discover numerous other tasks as I move through from beginning to end for the first time.

At the moment I’m reading over the notes I’ve made, most during October when I was preparing for NaNoWriMo. There were so many things I hoped to accomplish, and some of them I have. There are many more ideas I may not be able to incorporate… and some things I just can’t figure out how to make work. However I feel it’s valuable to go back and see what my original seeds of inspiration were, to be in the right frame of mind when I do this pass. A little frustrating that my word count hasn’t grown while I’ve been doing this, but I’m nearly ready to get my writer’s shovel and dig in. Let’s go!

What’s your process for creating a first draft?

1 comment:

  1. I go full out to get to the end. When I finish, I start to piece it all together! Congrats on nearing the end!