First Draft Insanity

I’ve been very quiet on the blog lately due to first draft insanity. I started writing my new manuscript on April 18th and on Saturday of this past week, crossed over the 50,000 word mark. So I’m pretty happy with my progress and I’m almost done. Two more scenes and it’s a wrap.

I do a modified fast draft, which means I write, write, write as fast as I can, but the first thirty minutes of each day, I go back and reread what I did the day before. I allow myself to edit as much as I want for the thirty minutes and then I forge ahead. This salves my inner-editor’s perfectionist tendencies and also gets me back into the story world.

Drafting is tough. The last time I did this, my PC died and I was computerless for almost a month. It was HARD to get back into it, but I did and that manuscript is sitting with an agent right now. (Wish me luck :))

After I’m done with the first draft, I’ll immediately dive into revisions. Some people say to wait for a week or some other length of time, but I can’t. I forget all the threads and places I know I need to update. I tried to wait in the past and it was a disaster. Once I get through the revisions, which is mostly working through character GMC, adding emotion, layering in description, and looking for places where I used similar wording to my other manuscripts. When I’m drafting, I can only think of so many ways to say “they kissed”. You know?

My friend Cynthia is drafting a manuscript too. She tries to do all the revision type stuff up front as she’s writing. Her first draft is pretty clean as a result. I’m jealous of that. I tried to write this manuscript clean and I think it’s better than the last three because I’m almost positive I won’t be rewriting the last third of it like the others. But I’ve come to the conclusion we just have different processes and one’s not better than the other. I think we’ll both be completely done around the same time.

What’s your process? Do you like it or are you looking for something that works better for you?

6 thoughts on “First Draft Insanity

  1. When I finished the first draft of my novel, I shelved it for a month. It was so hard to do because, like you, I wanted to dive right in and start fixing things. But, I’m glad I let it sit and breathe for a little while. The detachment allowed me to see it in a completely different light. 🙂

    • Wow, you’re awesome! I couldn’t have stood it for a whole month. I totally agree that you do have to shelve it at some point. I usually do it between the revisions and the editing, which is probably not as helpful…sigh. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. I also really need a bit of distance before I can reread it with a critical eye. If I try to quickly after I’ve written the draft, it is just too painful to cut anything.

    Even a week or two is enough that I can ruthlessly cut or change things.

    • Julia, you are so right about it being painful to cut! I started keeping a cut scenes document and it made it easier. Totally psychological, I realize, but as long as it’s still there for me to go back and maybe “one day” use again, I’m usually okay with it. Usually. Sometimes I try to find ways to shoehorn the stuff back in and make myself nuts in the process! I will probably give myself a couple of days before I dive into revisions because, well…I need to take care of real life things since I’ve been fast drafting and working like five hours a day for three weeks…Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. Ha! And I envy your ability to just get the story down on ‘paper’ without agonizing over every word. I’m indecisive, over-analytical, and have an obsessive internal editor that makes me stare at the same paragraph for far longer than any sane person would. But whenever I try to just blast out the words, I end up despising what I wrote, so I guess I can live with my freakish tendencies to preserve what little sanity I have left. 🙂

    I have a date with my novella tomorrow. I may torture myself by not allowing myself to even crack open the internet until I hit my goal. It kind of scares me, but it’s necessary.

    • NO INTERNET!!!????? Now that’s just crazy talk. And who says I don’t agonize over every word? That’s the thirty minutes I spend every morning fixing the stuff I can’t bear to leave alone. Good luck with your novella date. 🙂 I hope it brings you flowers and chocolate.

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