Tag Archives: first draft

The Aftermath of Discovery Writing

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

A few years ago, I remember reading that Ruta Sepetys did two years of research before she began writing her books.  If she is the sort to keep a planning journal or story/idea wall, I like to imagine how pristinely organized it must all be. I don’t know her, so of course this is all speculation. But I can imagine these novel planning tools and they must be beautiful. Mini works of art.

I have actually attempted the plan-before-you-write method. For me, making story maps and sketching visuals in my journal are enjoyable planning activites. At the recommendation of my fellow WriteOwl, Stacey, I read some of Truby’s book and got excited to take my novel planning up a notch. It’s a great book!, but I confess I got as far as doing the activities in Chapter 1, before I began to feel anxious and had to put Truby down. The planning stage began to  feel less creative to me and I wanted to “discover” my story as I wrote it.

So I did. With general plot prompts and a whole lot of sidebar notes to be dealt with later, I “discovery wrote” the heck out of my first draft. In doing so, I discovered a few things. One, that I have a lot of rewriting to do, because, two, as I wrote I realized new things about my characters and that began to change the course of the plot. I also learned that writing this way made me insanely happy and excited to work on my book.

There is a reason I like the “blank page” and the question “what is possible?” I live for the part of making something that is purely creative, exploratory, imaginative. But any form of art requires tweeking, editing and revision. That is where I am. The backdrop I’ve created, the first notes I’ve written need details, need depth.

In the aftermath of discovery writing, I can see the advantage of thoroughly planning one’s novel; I am sure I wouldn’t have as many notes to sort through. But  I also believe we create in different ways. I need to be guided by whim at first so I can carve out the details later. For another writer, they may need the opposite. To each their own.

What say you? What method do you use to write a first draft?

 

 

 

…And She Made Progress!…Until She Didn’t.

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

If you read my last post, you know that I set some concrete goals to banish my spiral into a summertime slothfest. And for the most part it worked fantastically!

I was up almost every morning at 5:30, sometimes earlier. I can count on one hand the number of mornings I wasn’t. I kept my summer reading to designated times and used my post-its to set Continue reading

Write with a Sense of Urgency

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

It has been nearly three weeks since our write-a-thon and we hope that you feel you have developed a steady writing practice. Habits are wonderful things to develop, especially since we can see a tangible result: word-count increase, clarity related to plot or character, or an eager hunger to write above all else. Continue reading

Deadlines, Not Goals

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

Today, for the first time, I’m doing a follow-up post to give an update on my latest get through the *#*!%** first draft strategy. The reason I’ve never done a follow-up post before is that none of the other gazillion methods I’ve tried have really worked, and I don’t like reporting negative results any more than does your average pharmaceutical company. But in my last post, My Key to Progress—Mocking, I wrote about my latest strategy which, at nearly three months in, is (pause for dramatic effect as triumphant music swells) still working! Continue reading

Finding a Path between Pantsing and Plotting

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

I am, by nature, a pantser. (For those of you who might not be familiar with the therm, pantsing is the writing equivalent of winging it.) For me, pantsing is as fun as daydreaming, and I am a world class daydreamer. (Seriously, it’s the closest thing I have to a superpower.) The problem is that I’ve tried writing novels by pantsing it and they always fizzle. The manuscripts start out good, with engaging, clever characters that—at least according to my writing friends—grab them as readers. Then a quarter to a third of the way into the novel, the story turns into a disconnected jumble that I can’t force into any kind of believable plot. Continue reading