Monday, December 12, 2016

I Won! (Lessons from a First Draft)

Remember The Deal? Well, I won! I have written 50,000 words of a thing. A very, very messy thing (seriously, the MC has two different ages and two characters have two names), but it's a thing.

How it went down:
Me: Guess what? I won! I finished writing 50,000 words!
My bro: Huh.
Me: Give me a prize!
Bro: *hands over our cat walking over his desk*
 -end scene-

I don't really need a prize though. The last time I finished a draft of anything was in 2014, if my calculations are correct, so I feel fantastic. I think I started this book idea sometime at the beginning of this year, just on a whim, writing out some frustrations, and then it turned into a full length thing because it was the only idea I had. It's also contemporary, which is something I haven't written a lot of yet.

You know, no matter how many blog posts or writing tips I read, I never learn as much about writing as I do when I'm actually WRITING (although I did make use of Chuck Wendig's tips for how to get unstuck once).

my outline

So, some lessons I learned while writing this draft:
1. Not really a lesson, but in the back of my head the whole time I was definitely thinking about an author's advice (I think either Shannon Hale or Kiersten White) about how first drafts are about discovering who your characters are more than anything. That made it a lot easier to have fun writing. :) And I definitely know the characters a lot better now.

2. Writing out of order is great!! It's something I've never done before, but it really helped me to just get words out, just thinking, "What's a fun scene I can write? Okay, I'll write that!" even if it was the end, and I only had 20,000 words at that point.

3. Don't think, JUST WRITE. Literally the answer to everything. Don't care about being perfect, don't care about anything, just get words out. There's no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting, as one of my profs likes to say.

4. Writing is fun. This is something I forgot for a long time, because I was frozen with a desire to be perfect and fear of failure and weighed down with waay too many of my own expectations. When did I forget that it's fun making up characters and getting to know them? It's fun when you write something and just think "all of this is crap!" and then you reread a part and realize, hey, you know what, that's kind of funny. Maybe I can do this thing??

5. This is NOT the end. Not by any stretch. For one thing, I need to fix all of my consistency mistakes (my MC was 16 when I started writing, and I switched her to 18 half way through, and I also switched two characters' names). I also need to put all the scenes in order. But at least I have something to work with now!!

I want to keep talking about this, because it's been soo long since I've been excited about writing and it feels great. I really hope I can keep it up. I'm excited to dig into the second draft soon! Hold me to it!!

What have you learned about writing over the years? How do you stay motivated?

1 comment:

  1. Hooray!!!! :D This year I, too, reached 50,000 words in a Camp Nano draft. I think you're absolutely right about discovering characters. This was old characters repurposed into a better plot and it was soooooo much easier to do than starting from scratch. Also, your outline is fantastic. <3

    Writing is fun. I'm glad you had fun. And that your brother "gave" you the cat, lol. He sounds like a good brother.


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