The Saga of the First Draft


I was just doing a word count and realized that I am better off than I thought I was.  It's not exact, because I'm handwriting most of my "novel" and I really don't have time to count all the words, but I'm averaging about 250 words a page, 500 words front and back.  So as of this evening I am at (according to my undoubtedly flawed calculations) 32,182 words.

I started typing up some of my work-to make it easier to read and edit later-but it takes me longer to type than to hand write for 3 reasons:

  1. My handwriting is terrible and I have to stop every 10 words or so and try to puzzle out a word.  Is that derelict or destruction?  Maybe it's detritus?  Using the surrounding words for context doesn't help, because I've run across whole sentences that make no sense to me.
  2. I often type so fast that my fingers get off on the wrong keys so when I'm really on a roll, typing up a section I can actually read, I realize 2 paragraphs in that I have just typed a bunch of gibberish.
  3. Stupid Inner Editor.  I made a vow to myself to just type it as I wrote it-it's a first draft, I can fix it later-but then (my thought process as follows) "this sentence can be written a little more clearly; here's a paragraph that kind of runs on, so let me fix that; lots of "he said she said" in this conversation, let me smooth that out..." next thing you know I'm rewriting the whole darn thing.
I know that once I have the first draft I will have to type it all up, which will take a while (maybe I'll get better at typing and reading my own handwriting with all the practice).  I figure there will be at least 2 rewrites before I won't be embarrassed by my shoddy writing.  First rewrite would be to rough out the chapters (what do you mean I should have already had chapters?), to fill in the plot holes (there is the matter of a disappearing-reappearing rifle I have to contend with), and fill out the prose (some sections make me proud to be an author, others go more along the lines of "Character does this, and then this, then says this, other character responds with 'blah blah blah'.  Characters stare at each in silence".  They spend a lot of time staring at each other in silence).

Anyway, the 3rd draft, I HOPE, will end with a much smoother and coherent product.  I REALLY hope I can get away with minimal work after the 3rd draft.

In the meantime, writing has started all sorts of ideas in my head.  I keep coming up with ideas, ideas that I'm sure are good, but I don't want to stop what I'm doing to work on them.  So I have to write the ideas down and stare forlornly at them.  I'll get around to them after this is all done.

So that's my progress so far.  Any tips to make it go more smoothly? (Other than outlines.  I'm in too deep on this one.  Maybe next time)

Comments

  1. I think characters staring at each other in silence can work quite well. Better than all the time smiling.

    I don't know if I'm impressed or astounded at your handwritten manuscript. And in this day and age. But every writer has their method. As long as yours works, right?

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    1. People are shocked that I would want to handwrite, and it wasn't my first choice either, but everything just flows more quickly when I write by hand.

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  2. That pie chart is accurate. And I, like you, write by hand a lot. I wrote a novel once by hand though, not realizing how long it was getting. Turned out to be about 250,000 words. Ouch. I split it in half and am still working on polishing the 1st one. Good luck in your efforts.

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    Replies
    1. That's a long story. :) I don't know that I could make a story interesting enough to go that long.

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  3. It's never too late to outline. In my first novel, I didn't start outlining until the last third. Of course, outlines don't work for everyone.

    I like the pie chart. :) Unfortunately, I don't know how to make the process easier. I write by typing because my hand cramps when I write for a long time. Heh.

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    1. I tried to do a basic outline when I first started, but trying to figure out where the story was going was stressing me out. If I ever do this again, I'll try to outline again, because I can see the advantages.

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  4. I love the pie chart! I have to type first and scribble later. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to read it as easily later to make changes

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    Replies
    1. I plan to do the exact opposite, lol. I guess whatever works.

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