Will it focus the mind or panic the knickers off me?
I’d like to take a moment to consider this.
I’m not known for spontaneous bouts of commando-ism.
This leads me seamlessly onto discussing draughts. Sorry. Drafts.
I started the first draft of my current WIP on January 1st 2012, as part of Sally Quilford’s 100k in a 100 Days challenge, aiming to complete it by April 9th and then edit it in time for this year’s RNA NWS read. Bearing in mind my first novel took a casual three or four years to get up to submission standard, I think I have set myself quite a challenge, but I need to know what it feels like to work to a deadline.
I hand wrote the first draft of my first novel, then painstakingly typed, edited and formatted it five times, maybe more. With my current WIP, I have gone straight to PC.
Fret not, stationery loving soul-mates; I still have ample opportunity to hand write notes, timelines and family trees, giving me enough reason to buy new notebooks and pens.
This time, I have been learning to banish my inner editor, a tip from other writers on The Challenge, and it has been a liberating experience. I faltered at first, desperate to change everything I’d written, but I pushed on, limiting myself to highlighting those areas that need a fuller description or improved scene setting.
The further I have progressed, the more the plot and sub plots have developed and the greater the twist is becoming. There’s always a twist. As I am now following the process of ‘getting the words down’ and restraining myself from revisiting earlier chapters, I know I am saving time. Previously, I would have refined those first draft chapters before completing the story, only to change their entire content at a later stage with the subsequent development of said plot and characters.
I would like to thank the wonderful writers who issued the advice in capital letters, BANISH YOUR INNER EDITOR, as it is the most economical and structured use of my writing time. It has also enabled me to remain fully clothed when writing. The only draft around here is on paper.
I have loved every minute of writing this way and have learned to embrace it. Yes, plenty of my first draft words will not make the final edit, but if I hadn’t written them, the rest would not have followed.
What is your preferred method of first drafting?