Meaning, is your first draft consistently 10 or 20 thousand or more words shorter than it should be?
I know there are writers who consistently write long drafts – 150,000 or 200,000 words or more, for example – and then have to go through and chop the stuff that isn’t necessary. I’m not one of them. I’m of the short draft variety.
In a discussion about this at the Absolute Write forums, one member commented that perhaps people who do this give themselves permission to write short.
I think he’s right. And I think that, for me, is the key to changing this behaviour.
Back when I joined Book In a Week, in around 2002, I learned about blitz drafting, or getting the first draft down on paper – or computer, as the case may be – as quickly as possible. Back then, writing my first novel took a long time. I thought four pages a day was good. Then I saw people in the group getting a hundred or two hundred or more pages in a week and was stunned that that was even possible. And then began my quest to learn how to blitz draft faster.
Over the years, I learned that, for me, a detailed plot outline is essential, and I learned how to write more and more pages in a day and more and more pages in an hour. I learned how to become more efficient at getting the first draft down.
But along the way, I also gave myself permission to not add the necessary detail and description.
Please note that I am not talking about drafts are shorter than where you want them to be because that’s all the story there is. I’m not talking about padding a story unnecessarily. I’m talking about not adding all the necessary bits.
So now, I’m going to focus on writing a better first draft. One that, while written as quickly as I can (seriously, why stretch the work out to take up more time than necessary?), will also be a more complete first draft, including the detail and description that the story needs. One that will require less editing, which, truth be told, I am not fond of doing.
- How to prepare for blitz writing?
- Placidia the novel – First Draft is DONE!!!!!
- Is NaNoWriMo Working For You?
- To plot or not to plot, that is the question.
- I found an excellent writing group
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