Tag Archives: first draft

No Shows and Catching Up

Well, no one showed up at the Itty-Bitty Buzz this morning from my region. So I NaNoWriMoed by myself for 2.5 hours. The place is now invaded by a couple of Boomer grandma’s gossiping at the tops of their lungs (you’d think they were on cell phones) about breast feeding and the inevitable conversation of this era — real estate.

Lopez Island MansionSpeaking of real estate, I was hunting for some info about the San Juan Islands and found the perfect place for my novel setting — and it’s such a bargain! As soon as I sell my NaNo novel for that big advance, I think I’ll buy it. 🙂

I keep having to remind myself that this is rough draft. I blocked in some notes for some earlier scenes and am plowing through the arrival of my MC at her new home. It reads awfully slow right now, but I’m repeating Baty’s mantra “it’s about quantity, not quality.” I figure a lot of this will be back story.

And don’t ask about setting the scene. I’m still uncertain whether I’ll be able to set this on the San Juan Islands or not. I certainly won’t get to do any physical research until after November, if I’m going to make the NaNo deadline.

I’m sorry no one else from my area showed up today. I find I need the privacy and isolation of writing but also need some human contact, preferably others who are or have experienced the peculiar tribulations of creating. I think Betsy Lerner caught the writer personality perfectly in her book, The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers

I was reading Psychology Today at the library yesterday looking for characterization tips from an article on the tomcatting personality and came across another article on how thinking faster actually lifts your mood. It was further evidence of why caffeine is so popular in the Pacific Northwest and other areas where the sun disappears for long periods of time. My husband is reading  The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland by Barbara Sjoholm and he pointed out how much coffee people living above the Arctic Circle drink daily.

All of this does much to explain why Starbuck’s does so well in creative areas. They’ve done as much as possible to become the new neighborhood bar where if everybody doesn’t exactly “know your name”, they know your drink. You can go there to be alone and yet with others, to do business in a social atmosphere or you can just hang hoping to hook up with another fast thinking caffeine junkie.

Now that they’ve uncovered the health benefits of non- and low-fat milk in reducing belly fat, I suspect there will soon be milk houses springing up. Or at least a lot more steamers sold at the coffeehouses.

Well, I’d better go move my car since I don’t know if the police are enforcing the parking time limit today. (Seems kind of foolish in the winter on a Sunday when the downtown so desperately needs tourists and local business, but hey, it’s the Greed era here and the city council would cut off it’s nose to spite it’s face rather than risk being accused of not taking every possible penny.)

Over 7,000 words and plans to put in another couple of hours today. I hope to break 10,000 before midnight.

Day 1: Easy, Day 2: Resistance

Actually, the title is misleading. I fell short of my personal Day 1 goal of 2,700 words. That’s what I need to average per day to complete over 80,000 words. I know NaNoWriMo is only 50K words, but I’m wanting to complete a full first draft, so I would need to shoot for the 80K.

But I’ve come to realize that I’m not going to be getting a full, first draft. I’m going to be getting a rough draft. The difference to me is the completeness of the text. The rough draft gets the general concept and shape down with all of the plot points and raw characters. It’s like the initial shape of a piece of carved sculpting. There’s a big block with the essential outline. You can basically tell it’s suppose to be a mammal as opposed to a tree or a house, maybe you can distinguish it’s a bird and not a cat. But the details aren’t there and there’s no distinct style.

A first draft, to me, is more like those wonderful unfinished sculptures of the captive slaves by Michelangelo. There is still an enormous amount of work to do even before the polishing, but the beauty is already evident. You can see the character, the theme is clear and some of the work is already something you’re proud to show others.

I can tell that I’m going to be doing a rough draft and then returning to create greater details. It’s hard for me to do this. I keep wanting to go back and work on improving the previous writing so that it becomes more beautiful at the beginning and rougher as I progress — like Michelangelo’s sculpture.

Unfortunately, I know I won’t finish my work either.

I’ve failed to complete my previous novels because I’ve become bogged down in the middle when I realize that I’ve made a structural mistake that would require major revision either in the plot or the characters. And so, like a piece of sculpture where the artist carved too deeply, too soon, the works are abandoned, with luck to be recycled.

I don’t want that to happen this time. So I’m forcing myself to keep moving forward and leaving myself notes about what revisions I think will be necessary. I may leave some of the notes on this site.

It would be nice, I think, if authors left their revision notes about. They used to in the days when first drafts couldn’t be simply dragged-and-dropped. But then again, there’s always Carlyle’s manuscript and the maid…

Okay, enough. To work.