Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Do I Know It Won't Sucketh?

I'm working my way through a new first draft at record speed--for me. In the past, I've spent roughly 6 months to a year working on the first draft, and then I revise like the wind. The book is in pretty good shape after the first draft and I'm very fast with editing and revisions. I can do several rounds of massive revisions within a few weeks.

This time I'm doing it differently. I'm giving myself full on permission to suck. I'm not looking back at previous scenes. I'm even filling in aspects I haven't figured out yet with eloquent bits like : BLAH BLAH-DEE-BLAH-BLAH.

It's liberating, and fascinating--and terrifying. I'm worried that when I finish I won't be connected enough. I won't be as invested. What if I finish and then go... oh crap, methink it sucketh too much. And as my finger approaches the ominous 'delete all' button... I'll cry.


So, what do you guys think? How do you write first drafts? Should I go back to the old way, or do you think this will work out okay?

And, if you haven't yet, don't forget to enter my Query Makeover contest!


  1. I love that! I think it's good to give yourself permission, and that's what I have to do in the very first draft. Though I still revise the chapter repeatedly so it feels right before I can move on. I can still get a chapter done a day, though, and it's more polished when I go back for my second draft.

  2. Oh, you know me...I'm a slow, meticulous first drafter. Which "sucketh" in and of itself. At least is "sucketh" the life right out of me some days. But you go girl. Write! Write like the wind!!

  3. I'm not sure. I'm a slow first drafter, too. But the thought of flying through a first draft does sound appealing.

  4. I'm a slow first drafter too. I edit while I write, so that can be a problem sometimes. My WIP though, I'm sort of just going for it and not editing too much. We'll see how it ends up! :) Good luck with your new WIP!!

  5. I did that with my second book and I liked it, although it did mean rewriting a section in the middle when I figured out a different plot line for one of the characters.

  6. Keep the momentum going! I've been trying to do that when I work on my wip, but I'm stuck right now, so it's taking longer than I thought.

    As long as you still know that the way the plot is going makes sense, I see no reason for you to slow down. There'll be plenty of time for that when you're editing.

  7. You know my vote. Write! Write! Write! At least try it once. Especially if it's working. Are you getting through the book? Are you having fun? I don't think you should force yourself to write someone else's way if it's not working. Especially when you've proven the other way works just fine for you. But, if you're having fun, I say again, Write! Write! Write! (then I can read it faster. Mua ha ha ha)

  8. Do what works at the moment of its working!

    My first three novels came out FAST DRAFT - a vomiting out, and I re-worked and re-worked and liberally used my delete key!

    I thought that was my "Thang" - to vomit out first drafts;however, this fourth book won't let me - at least right now, maybe later. So, I'm going a little slower on it - revisiting the beginning and going through what I have so far to spur off the writing, thinking about things a little more. Later, it may all gush out in a rush, but it's not seeming so this time.

    Do what works. Don't force anything (don't do what doesn't work). :0D

  9. I'm a huge believer in the bad first draft. This is mostly because I can't outline to save my life, so much of what I write is going to be cut once I figure out what the story is ABOUT--you know, after I've written around 60,000 words. (When I was pulling GEAS together, I axed it from 102,000 words down to 89,000 without any effort at all.) If I've taken the time to polish every word... what a waste!

    First draft is for what you want to say, second draft is for how you want to say it. Editing is fun, too.

  10. Perhaps your process will just flip-flop. Shorter time on first draft, but longer in edits. Doesn't hurt to try. I'm still figuring out what works for me. So far - SLOW.

  11. Honestly, every book is different for me. All of my novellas have been to the point where I write a very, very clean first draft that doesn't need extensive revisions. My novels, not so much. We'll see what my next novel holds, if I ever decide what to write about.

    It's fun to experiment with writing. I think it's in those experiments that we discover things which move us forward.

  12. If you can work at that speed, good for you! (It takes me hours to write just a couple of paragraphs, because I edit as I go.)

    I always hear write all the words down first--as fast as you can--and, yeah, they'll probably suck, but that's when editing and revision come in. I saved a tweet once where someone said, "Write it. Write it even if it's sh*t. It's easier to make diamonds out of sh*t than thin air."

    I think it's pretty good advice. ;-)

  13. I did my first WIP flying through it and have been editing periodically ever since. Hopefully it's getting better. I keep thinking that I need to do that with WIPs 2 & 3. You can't edit until you have something to revise.

    Once you're done with the whole process, you'll have to report on how you liked it.