1) I’ve already learned the bit about writing long stuff.
2) I hate writing long first drafts.
I don’t know how everyone else does it. Like, details and characters are so BORING and FLEETING the first time. I want to get to the END. I want all my ideas out, I want the plot there, I want to go BOOM BOOM BOOM and have a book.
|Flickr Credit: Sue Clark|
Not a publishable book, obviously. Just a skeleton. You can work with a skeleton—it’s hard to have a person be alive if they are missing all their body parts from the ribs down. (And I tend to get bored in the area of the ribs.)
(I sound like such a mean writer; I’m going to stop in and say that it’s totally okay if you like writing Nano-style and I applaud you if you can write long. But this is my story.)
So, I’m working out my own way of getting through first drafts.
Notebook Spawn, a WIP I’ve mentioned before, is over 60,000 words at this moment. If I take a look at my first draft, it was 15,340 words, including notes. I zoomed through the story with little regard for plot or characterization or sense-making. Through the magic of editing, I am working on something that is not perfect, but there’s more plot and characterization and sense-making than that first draft did.
I have done it again!
I wrote a new first draft over the last while, currently in the range of 16,000 words, which is the magical accountant story I also mentioned somewhere else. I thought it might be fun to share a few snippets just to show the attitude in which I write these things. Enjoy.
In which I change my mind about what just happened:
Bai eventually came back, and then there was silence until a low gurgle filled the enclave.
“Do you think Deuce will return at all?” Bai asked. “I’m hungry, and if we have to hunt, or steal—”
“Well actually I went with him so never mind,” said Silverhand.
Deuce returned with the food and tapped me back into reality.
In which modern slang replaces anything medieval-industrial:
“King Noel went to the border last week,” he said. “He has been captured, and may be held for ransom. It super sucks.”
In which I make technology that does not exist appear:
We went, we crawled, we hid, and then we worked to make the phone call with the fairy I needed to see. The fairy who would make the prince safe at last.
In which the characters ruminate regarding the direction of the plot:
“We could maybe split up or something in the next draft and see where that goes since the setup for the illegal trade of drugs is really important in the next book when we all go to the East and Minty gets to enjoy playing with the black market due to the apartment rent ceiling present in my country.”
“Ah, yes,” said Silverhand. “Very important piece of the plot, but still a problem because who will stay and who will go?”
In which I didn’t feel like doing research:
“Oh, that happened to me all the time. Once I was so mad, I accidentally gave my sister tuberculosis (or some other weird coughing disease; look it up) and we panicked for days about whether or not she would make it until I could figure out how to send it away.”
In which I didn’t feel like writing an emotional breakup:
“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.”
And so we went wee wee wee all the way home. Also, I learned that Deuce was vile and I didn’t want to feel anymore of his romantic advances.
In which I roughly summarize the queen:
She had been crying, clearly, but it hadn’t diminished her strength of face or the stuff that made her look badass and momish and a pretty darn good ruler of her kingdom.
In which the prince decides he’s completely done with this war stuff:
“Well, we’ll find allies and crap later because I’m done with this situation for now,” Derren replied. “Let’s eat cheese balls. I’m hungry.”
There you go. Onto phase two: making it make more sense!