So, I’ve been pantsing Refining Sylver for some time, now. While I had a very basic outline typed out, it was by no means detailed, leaving a lot of room for improvising. But for the past month or so, I’ve felt a wee bit insecure during my writing sessions because I never really know where they’re going. I just sit down and write for 20 minutes and see what happens. Well, this doesn’t really work for me.
While I know that the first draft is never good and will always require revision, the last thing I want to do is rewrite half my book because I just flew by the seat of my pants and didn’t bother delving into anyone’s intensions or fleshing out good subplot information. I don’t want to delete my useless darlings because I didn’t bother organizing myself beforehand.
So, Thursday–after an hour’s long writing session and the assurance that I didn’t feel confident in what my story was doing–I sat down after-hours and fleshed out some of the new characters filling up the last 2/3 of my book. I also finally figured out the names of some key characters. While I’m not a stickler for names during the initial writing process, at some point having a name is just key. It makes the character more real, more tangible. And you can really stick some characteristics to them after that.
I’m now feeling great about plotting potential. With some new characters figured out, I can finally see a dull grey timeline forming in my head. Hopefully another day or two spent on behind-the-scenes will bring that outline into focus. But for now, I can realize why my characters are misbehaving, or doing exactly what they’re supposed to.
I think I’ll go ahead and jot down notes on all my old characters, too, just to make sure I’m on the same page about everyone’s feelings and goals. Afterall, the oldies are just a fun and the newbies.
So how’s your writing process? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together.
Last week my hubby and I went on a 5 day cruise from Charleston, SC to the Bahamas. It was a wonderful week full of great food, new friends, midday naps, and late night drinks.
My favorite part was having the free time to actually read. I know that sounds very anticlimactic, but it usually takes me an appalling 4-6 months to get through 1 book. To have read through 200 pages in the span of a few days was so relaxing and enjoyable. For those of you who are wondering, I’m now almost through God Save The Queen, by Kate Locke; a great take on werewolves and vamps with an endearing English vibe.
That being said, I also loved the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake I ate every night, and I really enjoyed the 2 standup comedians and their raunchy sets.
My hubby and I were able to have real conversations uninterrupted by little ones that didn’t pertain to poop, cuts and bruises, or meltdowns. I missed my kiddos, but this mama ain’t gonna lie, it was nice being able to sleep in and stay up late–2 behaviors that swiflty swapped with their unwelcomed counterparts the minute I turned into a mom.
But I’m glad to be back on the web. Out on the sea we had no internet connection and I felt a little anxious at not only not being able to keep in contact with my kids, but not being able to do all the fun social things that I usually participate in online. 1 of the many bonuses of being home. 😉
So, now that I’m back in the saddle, here’s a few fun pics from my vacation:
Lots of good progress so far on my werewolf novel. Still pluggin’ away almost every day for 20 minutes and very much enjoying that brief writing time.
Also, because there are so many fun writing tags on Twitter, I thought I’d share some of the games I’ve been joining in over the past few months. If I miss a good one, please leave the hashtag in the comments so I can check it out!
#WIPrevelation (although I don’t think this one is going on for July.)
Thanks for stopping by folks and have a great week!
Many of us have issues getting the first draft of our novels put into ink. There’s so many things to focus on: plot arch and pacing, character development, believable premise, appropriate tension, a satisfying ending…it’s no wonder a lot of people never get there.
But for the past month and a half I’ve been working on the first draft of Refining Sylver. Though I’m not finished yet, I’m halfway there, and I’ve picked up a couple of tips that have aided in increasing my word count–while alleviating distraction–during my writing-time.
So, the don’ts for writing a first draft:
Don’t worry about names. For Refining Sylver, all my character names revolve around wolves: their habitats, genus and species, colors, etc. It’s not been easy to come up with new and interesting names for 20+ characters, and I’ve realized that it’s just not that important when you’re in first draft mode. So when I’ve got a new character–unless something comes to me spontaneously–I signify them in the ms with an XX.
And this works for me because even though I’m not writing something in, my brain is working. While I’m washing dishes, or whatever, my brain keeps throwing out ideas, and usually I have a name within a few days.
Don’t worry about using good words. What I mean by this is just write. Don’t worry about making all your sentences beautiful and unique and alluring. Just get the sentences on the paper, then during the editing stage worry about sentence variance, word creativity, and stringing together a series of kickass ideas that blow the reader’s mind.
Don’t sweat the senses. In the first draft don’t worry about addressing all the senses. Leave the embellishment for drafts two, three, four, etc. Get into your writing flow-state and run with it. You’ll naturally include some sensory details, but don’t worry about all five senses. While editing you can focus on these things.
Don’t reread. You know what this means. None of us can help it, but strive not to look back. Your sentences will be funky. You’ll probably use the words “just, really, and very” way too much. Don’t sweat it. Slice ’em and dice ’em during editing. In fact, it’ll make you feel good to catch all that stuff and get rid of it second time around.
Now, for the Do’s:
Do write like crazy. Banish distraction from your life–it’s only 20 minutes for crying out loud; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, will all be there when you’re done. If you’ve got kids, give them something distracting–or wait for naptime. Drawing pads and movies are always a hit in my house; warm milk and snacks also help.
Stay positive. You’re getting your novel down. No one’s first draft is beautiful and the quicker you get it down the quicker you get to polish it.
Keep a schedule. For me, it’s writing 20 minutes a day. Do what works for you, but do it everyday. If you write everyday you have to spend less time rereading because you already remember what you were doing before. You remember what you wanted to write but didn’t have time to do yesterday. You’ve had a whole night to think about it and know exactly what needs to happen during today’s writing session. Make standards for yourself, then hold yourself to them.
So that wraps up my notes from my #write20minutes experiment. I’ve had many writing breakthroughs that I hope will continue to improve the quality of my writing and the pace at which the process goes.
What’s the single most important thing you’ve learned from writing that first draft? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together.
So I started writing 20 minutes per day about a month and a half ago. It’s been super fun and successful. My ms has gone from about 30,000 words to almost 40,000 words. Yesterday I clocked in my twenty minutes, scored 566 words (the kids were out of the house and I had zero distractions), and totalled my ms so far at 39,324 words.
I’m so stoked to have increased my word count by almost 10,000 words since mid May!
So where to go from here…I’m going to keep plugging away at Refining Sylver. I have no idea how long it’ll be, but I’d like to finish it by the end of the year. That would totally make my writing year a blowout!
In addition to my standard writing, I’m going to refine and perfect my opening page for submission to the James River Writer’s Conference in October. Hopefully, they’ll select mine for critique.
I’d also like to clean up my opening chapter and meet up with an agent for one-on-one feedback at same conference. (I’ve never done this before, so if you’ve got any advice, please share.) *How many pages would you ask an agent to read? 2 or 3? In the past I think the meet time is usually only 7 minutes.
Please leave a comment or word of advice! We’re all in this writing thing together!
Check back later this week for my writing notes based on the #write20minutes experience.
So we’ve been officially in the new house for two weeks and I have to say that moving with kids has been absolutely insane. I don’t recommend it if you don’t have to do it.
Standard maintenance chores on top of unpacking and getting settled has been a little overwhelming. Not to mention that there’s some kind of wake up call that only kids can hear that rolls through this house no later than 6 AM every morning. I’m hoping this is just an adjustment issue that’ll faze out over the next few weeks, but I don’t know.
Geeze Louise there’s a lot of work to do.
On the upside, I’m scraping out 20 minutes to write almost everyday. I don’t always do a great job of it, but I’m determined not to let my writing fall away completely.
So, here’s to summer, and the yearning for some normalcy! (And mixed drinks once the kiddos are in bed. 😉 )
Are you all able to keep up with your summer writing goals? Any breakthroughs, or breakdowns? Leave a comment or word of advice, we’re all in this writing thing together.
Man-O-Man this past week has gone by in a blur! Last Sunday we moved into our new house and spent the last week unpacking like crazy so that we could host our son’s 2nd birthday here this Sunday. (My kids’ rooms below.)
my son’s room–before move in obviously bc it’s not littered with toys
my daughter’s room–ditto
Shoo! I’m so releaved that everything went well. My son got his bug themed party and we got to show off our new digs to all the family.
It’s been weird not having my computer for 7 days. It’s been sitting in a bag beside the bed aching to be used. Feels good to get back into the saddle.
I’m hoping to even get some writing in this week. My poor WIP is weeping with neglect. But I guess it’s more important to have clothes to wear and food to eat and toys to distract my kids with than it is to indulge in the minutia of writing—at least temporarily. But now that we’re almost settled my hubby and I have to turn back to our old place of residence and prepare it for rental. Once again, we have 1 week to clean it up and get it ready.
Alrighty folks, whether or not you see me again this week just depends on the writing gods, Father Time, and my ability to stay awake!