Your First Draft

Inspired by this interview with Nora Roberts, wherein she talks about her writing process, I have a question for y’all: what does your first draft look like?

In the interview with Clarissa Sansone, Roberts says,

“I’ll vomit out the first draft: bare-bones, get-the-story-down. I don’t edit and fiddle as I go, because I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Once I get the discovery draft down, then I’ll go back to page one, chapter one, and then I start worrying about how it sounds, where I’ve made mistakes, where I’ve gone right, what else I have to add, where’s the texture, where’s the emotion. I start fixing. And then, after I’ve done that all the way through again, I’ll go back one more time, and that’s when I’m really going to worry about the language.”

I’m so curious about what that bare-bones draft looks like and how it reads.

I don’t personally examine my own writing process closely because I don’t want to scare it or make it feel shy. But usually when I have an idea for an entry or an essay or whatever it is I’m writing, I open the nearest text editor and type whatever words are bubbling up in my brain. Sometimes that email from my Blackberry, or the text editor on my computer, but generally if I’ve had an idea for something, I have to write it down or it is gone, gone, gone. And if I’m not specific enough, I leave notes for myself that are mystifying. I have one that says, “Grate sidewalk sinktrap.” I can only assume I was about to write something really squicky, since there are few things more eeeeeyew-worthy in my world than the sink trap. I get the shivers just thinking about touching it.

Sometimes an entry of a few hundred words is born out of a note that consisted of five or six. Sometimes I can find a review in a two-word note in a margin (if I can read my handwriting). Sometimes I type out something in nonsensical order and then read later and wonder what I was smoking. But because this is a blog, unpublished entries don’t get better by sitting. They get stale. So my first draft is often one of only two, maybe the only one before I try to find any typos.

I’m sure this is relentlessly boring for you, but I’m meanwhile very curious about your drafting process, what your first draft looks like. Do you start at the beginning and seat-of-your-pants to the end? Do you outline and then draft? Do you ramble on and find the one good part and use that? Does it vary every time? How does it work for you?

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Random Musings

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  1. 1

    I’ve talked with other writers who say it’s important to give yourself permission to do a SFD (shitty first draft), otherwise you can get hung up in the first three chapters and never finish the novel. 

    My first draft is full of brackets that say things like [describe dress], [dinner menu], [CK DATE] and so on, allowing me to move on with the story.  Then I come back and fill in the blanks. 

    I’m not an outliner, I am, to borrow Ms. Roberts’ elegant phrase, “an organic writer”.  So if I have a scene pop into my head I write it down, and either wedge it in where it belongs or I put it in a “Chunks” file to work in later.

    Every writer has a different method, but this works for me.

  2. 2
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I’m currently learning to transition from “seat of the pants” to “must sell on proposal” which is a horrible thing to try and *force*.

    By nature I’m an organic writer, the story happens as I write it. Being forced to plot it all out for a synopsis = death of the inspiration to write it at all. This is not a good thing. So I’m struggling to find a middle ground that will both allow me to produce a proposal and then write the book (lots of people tell me that the book doesn’t have to match the proposal, but the whole process is a giant inspiration suck for me).

    Because of the way I write, my first draft is fairly close to the finished product. I may go back and add bits here and there to clarify, deepen, enhance, etc. (usually after one of my friends gives the thing a first read), but the book is pretty much done when I type *the end*.

  3. 3

    Because of the way I write, my first draft is fairly close to the finished product. I may go back and add bits here and there to clarify, deepen, enhance, etc. (usually after one of my friends gives the thing a first read), but the book is pretty much done when I type *the end*.

    This is me.

    I get the high points of a plot in my mind, then lots of little textural details pop into my brain but mostly I make up it up as I go along. It takes me longer to get to the end in the first go, but less time to edit after the fact so I think it even out in the end.

    I’d kind of like to try it the other way, with the SFD, but so far I haven’t been able to do it.

  4. 4
    lucinda betts says:

    First Page of First Draft of November Release, RUNNING WILD
    “Princess Shiraz?” a voice asked from behind her, and despite the desert’s morning heat beating down on the silk canopy, the words sent chills through her.

    The voice wasn’t feminine—it was masculine, and no man was permitted within her canopy. Certainly, no man was permitted to speak to her, none save her father and brothers.

    And this voice, flat and eerily cold, did not belong to a relative.

    Shiraz ignored the speaker. Refusing to look at him, she watched the chanting klerin instead. She would not enter her marriage—regardless of how unwanted it was—with her name smirched by some stranger sneaking up behind her on the first day of her wedding ceremony.

    “Princess Shiraz?” he said again, and the way his mouth slid over her name somehow reminded her of a snake. No one was to move, much less speak, during this ceremony. The voice belonged to a slithering predator.

    Ignoring her pounding heart, she kept her attention focused on the spectacle unfolding before her. Her husband-to-be, the Raj ir Adham, draped in gold cloth with ruby embroidery, stood

    First Page of Final Draft of November Release, RUNNING WILD
    Silence smothered the dunes as the officiating klerin held up his arms, his black sleeves rippling in the hot breeze. “We will begin,” he said deliberately when all eyes were upon him. “We will greet the morning sun to initiate the marriage ceremony, joining the lands of the Sultan and the Raj through the beds of Raj ir Adham and Princess Shahrazad.”

    Shahrazad stifled a shiver. Haniyyah should have been wedding the Raj, but instead her head stared at Shahrazad from the Pike Wall, once lustrous skin now waxy and pale. Talking to the soldier had been enough to negate the engagement, but touching him… What had possessed Haniyyah to touch a man? Shahrazad would never do such a thing.

    “Please, begin,” the Sultan commanded the klerin from the opposite dune. “The sun awaits your salutation.”

    The klerin nodded, closed his hands together over his heart, then turned toward the sunrise. As the klerin‘s salutation flowed from one asana to another, he took the warrior’s stance, the same one he used to behead her foolish cousin. God hold her in his eyes, she would miss her.

    The hot sand burned through the soles of her slippers, but Shahrazad didn’t move. She didn’t lift her eyes. She had never spoken to an unrelated man. And by God’s eyes, she never would touch one. Ever.

    “Princess Shahrazad?” a man’s voice asked from several steps behind her. She jumped, and the tiny golden bells on her wedding veil jangled in the desert’s morning heat. The klerin glared at her interruption.

  5. 5

    I always thought of myself as an organic writer, and then I realized I do a little plotting one way or another. One liners for chapters in a notebook or notecards, or sticky notes—but without going into any detail.

    I write a solid ms from the beginning and keep going. I write a chapter, my incredible crit partner critiques it,  I make the changes but I’ve already been moving on to the next chapter. I make notes to myself in comment bubbles in Word to go back and foreshadow certain things. I don’t stop to go back and work it in while I’m writing. I keep going. When I reach “The End” I go through all my comment bubbles and fix what needs to be fixed, send to my main crit partner and fix what she finds, then read through it one more time before sending it to my editor.

    I have the world’s best and toughest editor, Monique at St. Martin’s. She has a way of finding things that can be drawn out and enriched that I didn’t see. I usually get a few pages of revisions—we won’t talk about the most recent book that’s the first in a new series. Even though it’s a suspense series, I’m building a new world. I can bang my head against my desk on the work that needs to be done on that one. Once I establish my world, though, my revisions are not as bad. She just has an incredible eye for things that make a book stronger.

    So that’s my process. For drafts I have the one I initially write; the one I go back through and insert stuff from the comment bubbles that I then send to my crit partner to read through; the one I read through before my editor sees it. Before she gives me more work—*usually* one revision that ends up being the final ms before copyedits.

    I never stop when I’m writing to go back and re-read. I think that’s so important for new writers to know and do. Write the damn book and keep going until you hit “The End.” You can’t fix something you haven’t written.

    And you’ll never get chapter one perfect, so move on!

  6. 6
    CT says:

    I am an outliner. I have to have things plotted out. I’ll highlight something that needs to be fleshed out in that awesome Microsoft highlighting tool. Some points may have dialogue, and not much more. Some explain how a character feels about some event. These notes in my outline may not make the final draft, but they’re good background.

    And each point on the outline is numbered, so if there is a scene I have to write RIGHT NOW, I do. I just save it as a doc with the title corresponding to the number on the outline. Then I can make sure it still fits, and then plug it in where it belongs.

    I think this all comes from me being an editor first, writer second. I have an inability to know WHEN TO STOP FIDDLING. That’s why the outline is great for me. I can fiddle away by cutting and pasting plot points around. Eventually they all end up where they were originally and I kick myself for acting like an editor again, but it makes me feel like everything is finalized before I even start. Which it isn’t.

    Really, I think outlining is just me tricking my poor, paranoid brain that everything really is going to be okay.

  7. 7
    Sarabeth says:

    As an unpublished writer, I’m not sure my method really counts. Here goes anyway.

    Some stories come out in detail with the themes busting the reader over the head. I must say something ad nauseum to remind myself in later drafts to make it more subtle.

    Yet, I now have two stories that I slapped out in true bare bones with requests for more description in italics (instead of brackets because I can’t find the keys reliably). With those stories I have a “Scenes” file for additions I want to place in the larger story. It does help me get the stories out of my head faster so that I can move on to the next one.

    I hope this will mean that when I get the first story published that I’ll a nice packet of stories ready for prime time.

  8. 8
    LizC says:

    While I don’t write fiction whenever I had to write essays or research papers I notoriously hated doing first or rough drafts so I’d write one draft but I’d edit as I went. And I wrote very linear so it was intro, 1st paragraph, 2nd paragraph . . . conclusion. No jumping around.

    When I was writing my thesis I couldn’t do that. I had to accept that it didn’t, nor could it be, perfect on the first try. So I just sat down and wrote whatever came to mind. Sometimes that was stuff that ended up in the third chapter, sometimes it was stuff for the intro, and sometimes it was stuff that didn’t make it in the final cut. I also would often write it out longhand and then type up something later and cleaned it up during that process so my thesis actually went through few major revisions (talk about how shocked I was when I gave my 3rd chapter to my advisor, the first time he’d seen it, and he gave it back to me with no chances. I thought he’d forgotten to mark it up).

    Also, my thesis-writing process was similar to what Darlene described. If I couldn’t think of something or I couldn’t find the information I wanted even though I knew I had it somewhere (my notes could often get cryptic even when I thought at the time I was being specific enough) I’d leave notes in brackets and in color so I’d know I needed more info.

  9. 9
    Lori Borrill says:

    Count me in the “no draft” category.  I typically spend a couple days thinking over a scene, what I want to accomplish, whose POV it should be in, how I can make it funny, etc.  Then I write it, and what I end up with is pretty close to my final.  I’ll print, edit, reread over a day or two before I move on to the next scene, but once I do move on, what I’ve left behind is pretty much what my editor will see.

    I’m with Kalen in that the sell-on-proposal process pretty much ruined my pantsting.  But the trade-off is that, at least with my last two books, my editor accepted it without revisions.  A major bonus for someone like me who has the attention span of a gnat.

  10. 10

    I find this fashunating also, especially from a rhet/comp perspective. (A very small part of me still wants to write articles on college composition for NCTE or CCC. A very, very, very small part.)

    I outline first and make sure all my plot points are there. They may change as I write, but I have to start with something or I will feel lost (unlike Kalen). So the synopsis for selling on proposal isn’t much of a problem.

    Then I write, but NOT in order. My process at this point sounds a lot like Darlene’s, with [brackets] and chunks out of order. For the book I’m working on now, I started with chapter 10, and at about a third of my word count, I’ve now written at least a little of every chapter. As I fill in these chapters, plot points in other chapters will change. I won’t really know what I was trying to say in chapter 1 until I’ve written the whole book. So writing the first three chapters (and nothing else) for selling on proposal is a HUGE problem, which may be why I’ve never sold on proposal.

    In contrast, my CP starts on page 1, chapter 1, and writes through the book, in order, until she is done. The first draft is pretty much perfect. She makes very few revisions (I tell her to make a few but she ignores me—when you read the monkey joke in her Jan 2009 release, remember I told her to take it out). That means at any point she can send me chunks of the books she’s writing, in order.

    I thought I needed to be able to do this too—quite a few other people on RWA listserves seemed to write this way—so I decided there was something wrong with my process, and I tried to write a book in order. Disaster. Now I have learned to let go and embrace the chaos. I haven’t had a nervous breakdown in, oh, three books or so.

  11. 11

    I used to think I was a pantser, but realized that I’m probably more of an amalgam of both processes. I usually start by writing what I call ‘the bones.’ This, in the hands of a more organized or disciplined writer might be a synopsis, for me it’s the very bare bones of the story. It’s usually totally ungrammatical, choppy sentences that gives the main ideas that I have about the story. Main characters, beginning middle and the end.

    Oddly enough, I usually know how the story is going to end, it’s the beginning and the middle (which I call ‘the grind’) that gets me in trouble. I actually wrote Rock Star from the ending working backwards for the most part. (I in no way endorse this writing method. It will drive you nuts!) I was afraid when I started Try A Little Tenderness that I wouldn’t be able to write sequentially, but it worked out fine.

    Once I’ve got the bones down, then I start writing. Unlike some of the other posters, I do review and edit the previous day’s writing because that gets the juices flowing for me. The sad thing is, I do some of my best plotting and characterization in the shower. The day someone invents a water-proof computer I may spend all my writing time under water. It’s so bad that when I’m really stuck I’ll usually go take a shower. It works every time. Of course, if I’m not really focused enough to write it down when I get out, it disappears into the ether.

  12. 12
    Lori Borrill says:

    As an unpublished writer, I’m not sure my method really counts. Here goes anyway.

    Sarabeth, your method completely counts.  I’m pretty sure everyone who sold their first book wrote it as an unpublished author.

  13. 13
    Tracy Grant says:

    Fun topic!  I love hearing how different writers approach this.

    I’m an outliner.  When I’m brainstorming a book, I write ideas for scenes, plot revelations, etc… down on index cards and lay them out on my dining room table or living room floor.  That way I can move things around, play with when a crucial bit of information will be revealed or a major confrontation will take place, see where the hole are getting from one plot point to another.  Eventually that gives me my outline, and I can see the arc of the book, with major plot turning points identified.

    When I write a first draft, I remember the motto my mom had taped to her typewriter—“Don’t get it right, just get it written.” :-).  I write my scenes in layers.  I’ll do a first pass where I just get down everything I can think of-usually dialogue, with some fragments of action and description.  Then I’ll go back over the scene several times, shaping it, adding actions and thoughts.  I still end up with lots of **** where I need to track down a bit of research or can’t figure out how to get someone from the table to door (the sort of trivial action that could hang me up for hours before I started doing the ****).  Once I have a complete draft, I do at least two revisions—one for the big picture—where scenes need to be added, emotion needs to be heightened, pace needs to be tightened.  Then I’ll do one where I’m polishing and tweaking.  And that’s before it goes to my editor :-).

  14. 14
    Suze says:

    Depends on what I’m writing, but they all start off with vomiting.

    Procedures: get the steps down in order, and go through with an empty mind to look for assumptions and leaps in logic, over and over again until it works.

    Poems: must be hand-written.  Get the words down. Rearrange them.  Add some stuff for clarity, refine the words, remove some stuff for clarity.  Rearrange for flow and effect.  Read aloud a few times.  Put it away for awhile. Re-write.

    Fiction: barf out scenes as they come (using Scrivener, I can easily rearrange the scenes later), inserting instructions in angle brackets to fill in pieces or research something.

    Essays (for various English classes): write a skeleton of points to be made, flesh out and provide support from the texts, look up references and add them in, check word count constantly to see if I’m anywhere near done.

    I’m currently struggling with overwhelm and perfectionism on my novel, and my first draft consists of about 10 pages of looseleaf with scribbles all over them.  I’m stymied because I’ve read a few too many “how to write” books lately (looking for the magic answer, because I KNOW there’s one out there), and they all require me to outline, and I don’t WANNA!  So I’m rebelling like a 13-year old, like that’s going to get me anywhere.

    Upshot: first draft = ugly, which no human eyes should see.

  15. 15
    Teresa says:

    I’m a plotter, no doubt about it. Though my characters tend to surprise me and move the story in different directions when I actually write.

    The actual first draft is very bare bones – lots of dialogue, bits and pieces of description and square brackets round things I need to research or round words that aren’t quite right, but if I stop the flow to figure out exactly the one I need, I get distracted *g*.

    I then go through and fill in description etc and research the nitty gritty stuff.

  16. 16

    I’m extremely lucky to have risen up out of the dust with the organic writing process I have. My first draft is *pretty much* my final draft even though I write from the seat of my pants. I wouldn’t be a writer otherwise, because I have the attention span of a gnat. If I had to outline or labor through four or five drafts, I’d probably walk away from it, and I am NOT proud to say that.

    I was the same in college. All my best work was done the night before the due date. Any papers I tried to start a few weeks before were utter crap… and always abandoned within two or three days.

  17. 17
    Keri Ford says:

    I’m a bit more all over the place. I write like you might catch a movie on TV, but can never watch the whole thing in one sitting. You might catch 10minutes out of the middle, the next day you’ll see the end, two days later a part near the beginning, and so forth. I do this for several days until I have about 30-50 pages of nothing but dialouges of scenes. THEN I go back through, start connecting scenes together and filling in the inner conflicts and everything else. Once I get those scenes straightened out and in order and cleaned up, I restart the process and beginning seeing more parts of the dialouge through the story. By the time I’m at THE END, my manuscripts fairly clean and just needs to be read for typo’s.

    I ALWAYS write the first scene first, but I know nothing about my characters or the storyline. For instance, in my WIP, I wanted my heroine to slip a note in the hero’s shirt pocket with information about the man he was talking to. I knew nothing about what the note said or anthing, just that I wanted to do that.

    By the time the first 50 pages are cleaned, I know pretty much all that’s going to take place, somewhat.

  18. 18
    Kalen Hughes says:

    Then I write, but NOT in order. My process at this point sounds a lot like Darlene’s, with [brackets] and chunks out of order. For the book I’m working on now, I started with chapter 10, and at about a third of my word count, I’ve now written at least a little of every chapter.

    OMG, I lose my mind (and there would be lots of vomiting). It’s so interesting how everyone has their own “way” of working. One of my best friends pretty much has the whole story in her head when she sits down to write and she can just spill it forth in a torrent (or she could if she could touch type, LOL!). Others have in-depth plotting techniques that involve mysterious rituals with sticky notes and high lighters (and at some point I’m pretty sure wine and the sacrificing of animal crackers comes into it). I just mull it over and over and over and over (I keep a copy of my POS synopis in my purse for jotting down bits as they come to me, cause it’s always at the worst possible moment that something brilliant occurs to you and if you don’t write it down it’ll disappear like fog on a July morning).

    And I write the opening chapter like eight times . . . I HAVE to have the opening down SOLID before I can write anything else.

  19. 19
    Julie says:

    I’m pretty seat-of-my-pants.  I’ll frequently start something with no idea how I’m going to end it.  Most of the time this works out pretty well, but not always.  Lots of times I’ll have scenes in my head that I want to incorporate in the story, and I usually stick them in my little notepad and cross them off as I do them.

    I’ll generally go over the last section I wrote before starting a new one, if it’s been more than a few hours.  This grounds me in place and helps me figure out what should be next.

    Once it has an END at the bottom, I go back in and start revising.  Most of the time, my last draft looks a lot like the first, just more detailed.  Of course, in the current WIP, that’s gone out the window because suddenly three revisions later one of my characters is a werewolf (don’t ask), but really, it’s a matter of tweaking and adding stuff, even for such a drastic change—so it still looks a lot like the original.  The characters are still there, doing their thing, but a couple of things have changed somewhat drastically and I’m having a ball with it.

  20. 20
    Carrie Lofty says:

    I’m currently learning to transition from “seat of the pants” to “must sell on proposal” which is a horrible thing to try and *force*. By nature I’m an organic writer, the story happens as I write it. Being forced to plot it all out for a synopsis = death of the inspiration to write it at all.

    Oh, Kalen—I was in the same position this spring. Sucked the life out of my creative process. A synopsis? And now I have to write the whole thing but with dialogue? But… it’s done! Right here! In the synopsis!!

    I’m a mental plotter with a general idea of where to go, and I keep a list of “plot fodder”—random ideas and events I’d like to integrate eventually. Then I just start writing and let it run. I write UGLY first drafts. One big sin is my tendency to resolve conflict and try to make the h/h happy too soon. But then maybe a character gets boring—so I stop writing him/her. Revisions will always make it better, but only after the initial SFD is out of the way.

    For more detailed info on my editing process, see the three recent posts I did at my agent’s blog.

  21. 21
    Jaci Burton says:

    I have to write a synopsis to sell the book, so there is a storyline there that I work from. Then I tend to deviate from it when I write the actual story, because I don’t really know the characters all that well until I start writing the book.

    I don’t edit my first draft at all. I might go back and add something in an earlier chapter if something new or different happens in a later chapter, but I save all the major editing for the second draft. So if I completely change the story by the end of the book, I’ll fix the beginning chapters during the editing phase, because by then I know how the book ends.

    I use to be an edit-as-you-go writer. I found it took me freakin forever to write the book. Now I just write the book first draft, then go back and make it pretty. You really can spend way too much time editing if you do it while you’re writing the book.

    Some of my first drafts are total shit. Of course I think all my books are total shit when I’m writing them. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes they’re not as bad as I thought they were, and they don’t require as much editing and restructuring as I anticipated. Of course it could be I can’t see the forest for the trees, too. Heh.

  22. 22
    Abby says:

    I’m so curious about what that bare-bones draft looks like and how it reads.

    Not sure if you are curious about Nora’s specifically, Sarah, but mine are awful. Just awful. The first draft is where I have my heroine sitting around thinking about her past for like three pages, because I’m telling myself the story as I’m writing. Where I have clunky dialogue and run-on sentences. And word repetition – my personal bugaboo. “He sighed impatiently.” “She looked at him impatiently.” “He swore impatiently.”

    There is nothing more painful than reading a first draft of mine. I think it’s actually Nora who termed hers “POS” for piece of shit? I go back and read mine and hang my head in shame and decide I should never write another word as long as I live. Then I start fixing.

  23. 23
    Victoria Dahl says:

    Oh, hey Jenn! What was that about you not having had a nervous breakdown in the past year?

    Look, here’s another monkey joke just for you!!!

  24. 24
    Victoria Dahl says:

    Damn.

    Go here!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIY_MQ5x4G4

    hehehe

  25. 25
    Lori Borrill says:

    And I write the opening chapter like eight times . . . I HAVE to have the opening down SOLID before I can write anything else.

    I’m the same way.  I feel like that first chapter is akin to launching a missile (fallic reference intended).  Point it in the wrong direction and the whole book goes off course.

  26. 26
    Tina C. says:

    The vast majority of my writing has been research papers.  With those, I mull over everything I’ve read and studied regarding the topic for a couple of days.  I’ll often write down sentences or paragraphs by hand when I think of something I really like and don’t want to forget.  After anywhere from 2 – 4 days, I’ll gather all of my research material around me, stacked in more or less the order that I think I’ll need them.  Then I begin typing.  I might redo that initial paragraph 5 or 6 times before I’m happy with it, but once I get going, I simply don’t stop unless I’m really having a hard time getting the paper to go in a cohesive manner.  In that case, I’ll stop, jot down a rough outline, and start again with my thoughts appropriately marshaled.  I’ve spent as much as 26-30 hours straight because I want to get to the end.  At that point, I’ll stop and leave it for at least 24 hours.  With a day or two behind me, I can proof it properly for grammar, voice, and overall cohesion.
    With what fiction I’ve written, I already know how the story ends.  Consequently, I tend to jot out the points that get to that ending in what is again an extremely rough outline.  Only once have I had the character I was writing completely up-end my conclusion—she flat-out refused to go along with my intentions, no matter what, so I gave her her way.  (Guess that sounds a bit schizo, but there you go.)

  27. 27
    Suze says:

    The sad thing is, I do some of my best plotting and characterization in the shower. The day someone invents a water-proof computer I may spend all my writing time under water. It’s so bad that when I’m really stuck I’ll usually go take a shower. It works every time. Of course, if I’m not really focused enough to write it down when I get out, it disappears into the ether.

    Oh, man, I feel ya!  What is it about bathrooms?  I once was in a class that required us to do a presentation at the end of the term, and I was scheduled to go last.  During a bathroom break in the middle of the class I had an epiphany and re-focused my entire presentation, which turned out to be much better.  Fortunately the visual aids I’d prepared still applied, I had my pen and a notebook with me in the cubicle, and MOST fortunately the only thing I had to hand in was my list of references.

    How about a water-proof voice recorder?  Does anybody make those?

  28. 28

    Vicki. Oh good. For a minute there I thought you weren’t going to claim me OR your monkey joke.

    And I didn’t say I hadn’t had a nervous breakdown in the past year. I said I haven’t had one caused by my writing process. Other reasons don’t count (has anyone here besides me tried to learn to play Pokemon with their children? OMG).

  29. 29
    corrine says:

    I am a relentless perfectionist and self-editor. I always start my writing by going back and re-reading the last few paragraphs I left off with, fix anything that needs fixing, and then continue on my writing, so my first draft is pretty much the final draft, though I do a final read through (and usually wind up rewriting the whole thing).

    Until recently I never did anything by hand, but I’m starting to keeps notebooks on character histories, personalities, timelines, outlines, etc. All in all, it’s been very helpful, especially since I’m writing book one of what I intend to be a five-book series. I would love to be able to just put it all down in writing, even non-linear writing, but I’m a little too anal retentive for that (you know that line in Ferris Bueller about a wad of coal… yeah, that’s so me). Which may be why it’s taken my five years, three subgenres, and four rewritten complete manuscripts to get so far into my novel—- a whole twenty pages into a series that I’m really passionate about.

  30. 30
    Kathleen O'Reilly says:

    I would love to be a plotter.  That is my life-goal, along with having a cleaning lady.  I get the big stuff usually, but the little minor subplots always surprise me, which can be a good and a bad thing.

    My drafts usually come out OK, I write by sound, so if it doesn’t sound right, it won’t go down on the paper. But it takes a day to get a scene the way I want it.  I do about three to four drafts total, two for me and my CP’s, and one, (sometimes two if she’s really getting cranky) for my ed.  I have those fill in the blank things as well.  XX marks the spot where more work is required.  It’s rather freeing writing that, gives me permission to move forward.

    I will confess that my synopses are a work of fiction.

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