Friday, June 16, 2006

Rough (ROUGH!) Draft

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So, you all know that several of us are starting on the journey of a new book. This will be my 4th book and hopefully will take significantly less time to complete (barring a joyful delay like a request and revision on my 3rd book). Although I’m late to jump on board, I’m putting myself to the torture of a 6 week draft.


This will be especially hard for me because I am one of those weird people what write in final draft form. I go from start to finish in order, with grammar and text as well done as I think they should be (until a CP tells me otherwise, then I revise a bit). My plot usually changes dramatically from my initial idea, my characters tend to go off on their own tangents, and sometimes I don’t even know who the bad guy is until he reveals himself. It’s an interesting process, but a slow one. It’s usually about a year from the creative spark to the final, revised draft when I putt around on my Muse’s schedule.

When we signed up for this challenge, I had to ask the other Children - what do your rough drafts look like? Mine look like my final drafts, so I didn't know what I should aim for. Their answer, a double challenge for me - is not just words on paper but imperfect words on paper with omissions, scenes skipped, descriptions left out…this is personally painful, I have to tell you. It may, however, be my answer to the muddled middle. I usually let my characters evolve enough in my head for me to figure out what’s going to happen. If I hit a point I don't want to write yet or I need to think about, I just stop. This means days or weeks without writing as I work through it. I don’t get the luxury of that with such a tight timeframe. Now I have to put in "{add sex scene here}" and move on. Real romantic, huh?

I’m officially not going to start until Monday. I’m still recovering from my cruise (which was great – see photo below) but exhausting. I need to plot a little more, poke the playfriends for some GMC development, then off I go. Being a pessimist, I’m not sure what 6 weeks will bring me, but I’ll try. That pesky little percentage complete bar will certainly be a motivator – especially with Angel and Instigator two weeks ahead!

In true, neurotic playground fashion, maybe I’ll make a list of everything I need to do before I start. Uh…what do I need to do? Although its not my first book, this may be the first time I attempt to write a book in a structured, organized format instead of running with the Muse. Can my pseudo-pantser self get organized enough to be a partial-plotter? I should have a plot outline right? Maybe a short synopsis? Fill out one of those character sheets? All my characters have blue eyes, so not too hard, there. What else? A GMC card? Help is appreciated here, people!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,250 / 70,000

This first picture is me at Yale...Glacier, that is. Each glacier in College Fjord is named after an Ivy League school.
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This is me at sunset outside of Ketchikan. By the way, it's about 10:30 at night.
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Playground Monitor said...

Too bad you missed Maven Beverly's talk last Saturday. It was called "Tell the Story and Screw the Rules (at least some of them)." Speaking from experience, it's difficult to just let go and write, especially when you know the difference between good grammar and bad. But it's possible and once you get the hang of it, it's actually quite liberating.

Good luck! I have no doubt you'll triumph.


P.S. Did you ever see darkness while you were in Alaska? And was the Royal Alaskan Air Force out in force?

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I thought of the same this PM did. No lists, no tricks, no cards. The joy of writing a rough first draft is that you can just tell the story. Along the way you might ask yourself Is that possible? Well, who cares? You can check it out later. :-)

However, you might find that writing this way doesn't work for you at all. There are no rules for the process, that's for sure. If writing in final draft is what works for you, do it. If you don't find this new way liberating, dump it. You might love it, in which case -- rock on. But if you don't then don't agonize. Life's too short.


Instigator said...

Wise words from Maven LJ! There's nothing wrong with trying a different way of doing first drafts (you might find it works better for you) but if you don't...don't worry about it! You have to do what works best for you.

Angel and PM write in longhand. The idea of doing that first draft gives me hives. But, I often write my edits in longhand (and I usually end up rewriting 1/3 of the book that way...). I don't question - it just works for me :-)

Love the pictures!! My brother is up in Alaska right now on a job (with his new wife). And all they do at night and on the weekends is stay in their apartment and play computer games. Ugh! They're gonna wish they'd taken advantage of this opportunity years from now (when they have kids and want to get away but can't :-)

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time!


Jennette said...

Thanks for the pictures - I'm there next week - on the same ship!

Good luck with your writing challenge - hopefully it'll bring some pleasant surprises!

Angel said...

I have to agree with all that's been said so far. And you might find that while the process works some for you, you need to expand the time period because of the way you write.

Remember, you are writing single title, while Instigator and I are writing series. And hers is longer than mine.

We're very happy to have you home from your trip!

Angel said...

And speaking of ROUGH! drafts, mine are really bad. I've been too embarrassed so far to let anyone see them.

But I love and trust you enough that I'm going to let you take a peek. Just promise not to laugh.

Kathy said...

It's great to have you back, SP! You look so good in your Norweigan sweater. I've had to pack all mine away.

Writing like you want it to be read. Hum. That's my process in a nutshell. I strive for perfectionism all the while working at a snail's pace because the desire to make the ms perfect from the getgo keeps me from moving forward. Or I'll hit a bump and stall. As you say, sometimes it takes a few days to work out the kinks.

Oh, what light in yonder window breaks, tis freedom long desired... freedom to write prose without ceasing, freedom to imagine, and to work uninterrupted when the juices get flowing!

Welcome home.

Smarty Pants said...

Well, I'm hoping this process, however painful, might unlock writing possibilities I never considered. It never occurred to me to write in any other format but final draft. Maybe you all are onto something and I'm missing out! It sure would be more productive to put in a placeholder and move on until waiting to figure out what's going to happen in that scene instead.

Jeanette - that's so funny. You'll have a great time. I made a pig of myself on crableg night, then again on lobster tail night. They just keep bringing you more and more. Go whalewatching in Juneau for sure. And bring some dramamine. Its ok on the inner passage, but the Gulf of Alaska moves a lot! I mean, I fell off the elliplical machine! :)


Instigator said...

You fell off the eliptical machine? Wow that is a lot of motion. (I'm trying not to laugh at the visual - really I am.)

You know, it never really occured to me that a ship that large might have motion issues. But when we went on the Golden Princess to St. Thomas they actually had to drain the pools on the ship because water was sloshing 10 feet up over the side of the pool onto the deck above. Water all over the floor was a serious walking hazard.


Kelley said...

How neat. I'm so glad I found this blog and yahoo group. I am an aspiring romance writer working on my frist MS. I just finished a short story and also write poetry. I'm learning how I write as I go along. I have been writing in order, and if I am stuck then I take a little break just like you mentioned. It works ok for be now, but if I ever sell and end up on deadlines it might be problematic. I have been pretty much just writing. I havent gone and corrected any grammer or anything like that yet. I'm trying to find what works best for me. Great blog, ladies :)

Smarty Pants said...

Hey Kelley. Welcome to the Playground! Hopefully it will be helpful to you and maybe just a little entertaining. We like to think we're funny. :)


Angel said...

Welcome, Kelley! Cute picture.

Kelley said...

Thanks Angel and Smarty Pants. I'm sure I'll have a good time hanging out here :)