Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rough drafts

I write short rough drafts.  65,000/70,000 words give or take.  I write fast, getting the rough draft down in a few weeks, all the dialogue and scenes that are already in my head.  If it's not coming to me, I skip over it and continue.  I don't like to stop and think about whatever it is that's not coming.  So in those places, I put notes in the comments of Track Changes.  Research this.  More description.  Why is she doing this?  He needs to get pissed and let her have it.  And a lot of other stuff.  

When I got that skeleton-story existing in my head complete, then I go back.  This is the fun part.  Now I have a playground in which to play.  I love to look at a page and figure out how to make it better, what things I can flesh out, mold, and shape, and really get into.  I love reading the notes and taking things one step further.  This is where I dig deep, work on internal motivations, reasons, main and sub plots and relationships.  I'm a crafter.  A weaver.  I'll make several passes on the manuscript, and eventually, almost always, I come in between 90,000 to 100,000 words.  It just ends up that way.  

Some writers naturally write longer rough drafts.  They flesh out everything as they go from the very beginning.  Some go over word count and then cut.  Their process is right for them.  The creative mind and the creative process is unique, in some way, for each person.  And there's no wrong way to do it.  I love my process.  This is how I write, and it works for me.  So, how do you write?


Unknown said...


Good stuff.

I tend to write my screenplays short (80 pages) then struggle to get to 100. Usually, I will break the script into sequences (between 10 - 12) and then beat them to death. Figure out what needs to happen, add scenes to get each sequence to 8 – 9 pages. That usually gets me to where I want to go.

But I like your idea of making notes as you write the first draft. I'll give it a try.

Keep Writing,

K. said...

Thanks, Mike. Let me know how it works out. ;-)

LeeAnn Flowers said...

I have a combination of strategies. My first book I plodded through and wrote from beginning to end, editing as I went. That was really slow going. The next one I broke up into three parts and then filled in the blanks. Much faster. My current one? Who knows. This one has so been just piecemeal, getting bits added on as I can.

Rose Pressey said...

I do the same thing. I can't stop the flow of the story to worry about the little details. After the rough draft is finished, I go back.

K. said...

LOL, LeeAnn. Sounds like you're finding what works best for you. Or maybe it's just whatever works best for that particular book.

Rose -- a girl after my own heart; good luck with the writing! :-)

Jolie said...

Found you through your agent Colleen's blog. Hi!

My process is similar to yours. I'm glad to have found out that many writers work this way, starting with less and building to more, because what I'd heard about before was writers churning out an enormous first draft and then having plenty of foundation to work with in the revision stage. It scared me at first because I was thinking, "Does it mean I'm no good if I have to work to get a full-length story from a skeleton? WHY CAN'T I WRITE MORE, MORE MORE?!"

But that's how it goes. I come up with a concept and map out the story by outlining and jotting down scenes from all over the story's timeline. I don't write it from beginning to end. I start with scattered scenes and build outward from them until they connect to each other.

K. said...

Hey Jolie! Thanks for stopping by.

I used to think the same as you, but I've come to the conclusion that there's really no wrong way to write a novel if the end result is a great book. :)