Tuesday, March 17, 2009

An Unctuous Draft

Woo hoo! I'm writing again. Finally. I'm first-drafting the new series. I'm not completely done with the three-book outline, but I'm close enough that I can muddle along. I'll, ah, you know, make it up as I go. The series is called The Rose Morphus. This book is Flight of the Silver Dragon. It's YA fantasy.

There's nothing like that rush of a first draft. When you're not concerned with the little crap, you just plow along, laying down markers and finally building the world that's been in your head for so long. I know this euphoria won't last forever, but for now, I can just lie to myself. 

I know everyone has a different process. I love to know how other writers create. For me, it's detailed outlines and thinking and thinking and thinking, and then the writing begins. I can't imagine any other way, but I've been around long enough now to recognize that there are ten million valid ways to produce a good book. Shoot, as long as the final book is good, the process doesn't matter at all. If you have to write in blood on Kleenex by the light of the fourth full moon while drunk, I'm on board if the book is good.

It's taken me a few years to recognize my own process. Once I start, I hate stopping. For anything. I aim for 1,000 words a day, more or less, every day, seven days a week. I type fast, and because I've already plotted the story, this doesn't take long. Usually about 45 minutes a day. I'll first draft this book probably by the Fourth of July.

Although it might sound like it, I'm not simply transcribing notes from an outline. Despite all that prep work I do, the real, undeniable quality -- the magic -- always happens during the writing. That's when the words are actually there, when I can finally access the pace and flow and phrasing for the story. But I need the outline and the prep work to provide structure to my work. I need to not worry about the big direction so I can spend time on the little embroidery. 

I love first drafts. I really do. I'm always surprised, though. Because the first draft usually feels like butter. Smooth. Unctuous. Fun and readable. But weirdly enough, very little of the first draft will probably survive the editing process. 

Go figure. 


Mark Terry said...

I'm gonna have to try that writing in blood on Kleenex by the light of the fourth full moon while drunk process.

I've tried the outline process and it didn't work for me. I've tried the chisel it in stone tablets and it took too long.

Usually I just write it and mostly that works.

Whose blood do you think I should use? And is a generic paper tissue okay? And although the drunk part seems straightforward, does it depend on the type of beverage you ingest? I mean, would it be better to do beer, wine, tequila, Jell-O shots?

LurkerMonkey said...

Hmm. Well, for blood, I would recommend either a) the blood of a pure talent or failing that b) I'm sure a few Republicans would do the trick.

Avoid generic tissue paper as it will fall apart.

Finally, I'm partial to Jell-O shots sucked off the belly of a gravid alligator.

But it better be a great book.

Jude Hardin said...

I do a lot of thinking before starting, too, but my best ideas always come when I'm actually writing.

Best of luck with the first draft!