This would have made an awesome IWSG post

It’s strange and wonderful for me to think of all the skills I’ve learned since finishing my first ever rough draft. I guess I always knew I’d improved, but nothing made that improvement as glaringly obvious as working on the second rough draft I ever finished.

Some of you will know from my previous posts that said project fell by the wayside after the rewrite was lost in a back-up disaster. (Yes, I lost the whole thing WHILE backing it up, which meant I lost the back-ups as well.)

Anyway, I reread the rough draft and… well… it wasn’t good. I still really liked the characters, but the tension sagged all over the place.

So I put up a rewrite structure (i.e. I planned what I wanted to do with the rewrite). Things went well for the first three chapters. Until I realized that I’d matured so much as a writer that I wouldn’t actually be able to work with what I had.

*SIIIIIIIGH*

Anyway… I guess it’s a good thing. My muse got me involved enough with the story that I actually want to make it awesome. The less than awesome thing is that I’m now basically drafting on my computer (which I hate), but I’m too deep into the story to start again by hand at well over 20k words. On the other hand…

No.

But…

NO.

I’m committed to getting the story done, and I don’t think doing so by writing an infinite number of first drafts will help me get there.

But really. I seriously – SERIOUSLY – hate rough drafting on the computer. Because the moment I slow down, I have this insane desire to go back and delete every single thing I wrote.

It’s something I always struggled with. It’s the reason why I write in pen. There’s no way to delete thousands of words on impulse if you have it down in ink.

With my computer… the chance is there, and it’s very tempting.

On the other hand, I know hand drafting works, and it works for a reason. And I know I threw out the entire rough draft. So maybe bending my own rules a bit makes sense.

I mean sure, it might set the project back by at least six months, but isn’t that better than getting stuck in my own head and getting delayed as a result in any case?

Thoughts?

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14 thoughts on “This would have made an awesome IWSG post

  1. That's cool you can see your growth, even if it means a total rewrite. (I've done that.)
    A total delete has never tempted me though. Probably because I've worked so hard to come up with something, anything, that heck if I'm deleting it!

  2. I'm with Alex on the deleting bit.

    I once read–and I can't remember which classic author said this–something like he went through eight drafts before he ever felt his novels were ready.

    I wrote my first novel in pencil and they typed it up. Now I do everything via the computer. I have the worst handwriting. 😦

  3. I've read about and known people who must write everything in ink, first. For some, there's actually a physical connection between the act of writing and the creative flow. I do a bit of both. I have been known to delete and start over entire essays or chapters, but usually I avoid that. There's almost always something salvageable in the initial draft– even a nugget of an idea. All the best to you!

  4. I always save as I go. Thus, I have Novel Title v 1, Novel Title v 2. Then it's Novel Title 2D v 1 (for second draft). This way nothing is ever lost, if deleted or modified.

    It's what works for me. I handwrite sometimes in a notebook when I am not able to access a computer, and then transfer it when I get a chance, making the next version.

    But what works for me, won't necessarily work for you or anyone else. I know several authors that do the first version by hand, in a notebook. It's just what they feel works best for them.

  5. I have to write by hand first then type. Only my ghostwriting gig do I type straight since the customer has given me a full outline to follow. Best of luck with drafting and it's a process so just never give up. Breaks are acceptable.

  6. I back up often on the computer and also on one of those sticks. I had a computer crash several years ago and, like you, never forgot the lesson. I'm tempted to use pen and paper more for the reasons you state.

  7. I don't think I would go and delete an entire draft. I can learn from it and do some tinkering. Besides, you can always look at it as a record of how your writing has changed.

    A good weekend to you, Misha.

    Gary 🙂

  8. From now on, draft by hand, if that's what works. Print out what you have so far and carry on. I keep everything, every single draft, right up until the final draft is done. Mostly because I'm fickle.

  9. I don't write anything by hand (except for those rare scenes that come to me after I've already gone to bed). So… it is possible to draft and NOT go back and revise. Just force yourself to do it. Remind yourself that you WILL go back and fix everything. It is a conversation that I have with myself all of the time.

  10. I can't imagine losing an entire draft. Holy crap, that's awful. But it sounds like you're back on track, so keep at it. I've drafted by hand and by screen; if you don't like drafting on the computer, I'd recommend following Annalisa's advice. That's worked for me in the past.

  11. It's always good to expand our horizons. Maybe trying to draft on the computer will improve your skills and give you a new perspective, or maybe it's just not for you. You have to do what is right for you and the story. It's nice to be able to see and measure your growth that way. Maybe I should pull out my early books and see if I've improved.

  12. I found a cure for, “I hate it all-itis”. Cut and paste to a different file, call it something classy like, garbage. Then you can always go back and rummage through the garbage and still have the ability to make the refuse bogging you down disappear.

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