Monday, July 30, 2012

Ah, it hurts my eyes! The pain. The pain!

Holy mother of ugly first drafts!

This weekend I got back to work on WIP2. After going back and forth (and reading through all your wonderful comments) I finally decided to take a mixed approach on how to fix this story. I read through what I have so far and my God! Sure there are moments of brilliance...maybe two of them. The rest of it is crapola of the stinkiest nature.

Yeah, it's kinda like that Courtesy Ryan Dickey


I have parts of this story that read more like a scene summary than a novel. I have two characters whose names I am constantly confusing - Paul and Alan, they aren't even close to each other. The tense and POV change constantly. I'm missing huge chunks of story and the timeline is all over the place.

So here's the game plan. Even though the first draft isn't complete (I'm only 1/4 way there) I felt that what I had was too rough to continue building on it. Instead, I'm going back through and making notes for all the things I need to fix, add, research, etc. I'm not changing them yet, but so far I have several pages of notes and I'm only 10 pages in.

Once I've done that, I'll have a better sense of the story being more filled out. Hopefully, that will let me stop thinking about it and keep going. I really want to tell this story.

I have a feeling this novel is going to go through a ton of revisions. A few years ago, that would have driven me nuts. If I knew the first draft was so bad that it would take months of revisions and rewrites I would file it away and start something else.

I'm going to take it as a sign of progress that I'm looking forward to finishing the first draft so I can make it all shiny.


10 comments:

  1. Well, some first drafts are better than others, but most often they are steaming piles of poo. An author friend of mine (who teaches writing for children/MG/YA), calls her first drafts 'Draft Zero.' It's mostly the process of brainstorming and getting to know the characters, plus figuring out the main points of the story. Sounds to me like you're at draft zero, so don't be too hard on yourself. :)

    I've spent the last five months or so on a single draft of my WIP. Granted, it was a HUGE revision with many big pieces of the story changing, but still. One draft (not even a first draft!) in five months is kind of discouraging. But I'm almost done, and I'm very proud of what I've done. If this is a story you really want to tell, then give yourself permission to write crap as you figure everything out. You can always fix it later. :)

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    1. I love the idea of Draft Zero. It sounds more like how I feel about my first round.

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  2. I just finished a writing class with the amazing Nova Ren Suma, and one thing I learned from the class is it seems to be helpful (for me at least) to get feedback a little bit at a time. Like 15, 20, 30 pages/week. I can be thinking of how ot fix those pages while moving closer to "the end." Then fix everything the next time around.

    A first draft is going to have tense shifts and pov changes and all sorts of fun stuff. That's mechanics. But I think it's important to get the story out before you start worrying about the small stuff.

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    1. I don't like to get feedback until I've revised at least once. It feels like I'm wasting the time of my CPs to give them something I know isn't good. When I do get to the sharing point, my group sends out work in 5K word segments until we're ready for beta readers.

      This has really helped me in the past so I'm just going to trust the process.

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  3. It sounds like you are able to put this into perspective and do what you need to to finish the manuscript. Kudos! I've found every WIP is different. You kind of have to figure out what works for each and just go with it.

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  4. That's a lesson I'm slowing learning.

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  5. Draft Zero, Tabitha, good one! Sarah, I do like that photo. First drafts contain nuggets of rough magic, but are mostly poopish.

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  6. I usualy get feedback from my crit group as I write except with my present WIP. I got up to chapter 7 then decided I needed to finish it first. usually I don't move to the next chapter until I'm happy with the previous one, which meant it took me 4-5 months to finish a book. Out poo comes gems...rem that

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    1. Hmmm...poopy rough drafts as fertilizer for the flowers of final copy. It could work.

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