Monday, March 26, 2012

The More I Write, The Weirder My First Draft Process Gets

I can still remember how I prepared to write my very first novel. I turned off Oprah. Took down the typewriter I'd had for months. Put lined paper into my typewriter and started to type. Partly because it was the first time I'd ever shown an interest in anything my mother bought me a computer after this. The other part, I am sure, is because at the end of every line my computer Dinged. Plus, you could hear the typing of keys from a mile away. There wasn't a real plot to my story, just a character who showed up in my head.

 Let's fast forward years later. I'm listening to the same song, over and over again, with a notepad and pen in my hand. I'm plotting out scenes or writing down the surface level GMC and the deeper level of GMC. I also get tons of dialogue. This doesn't include the fact I've probably written the first three chapters months ago and got stuck in the evilness that is Chapter 4. It should also be mentioned I've spent hours upon hours talking to writerly friend about the story. Avoiding the question, How is the writing going? (Which is a evil question, more evil than Chapter 4.)

And then something amazing happens. After not getting any words down, the story opens up in my head and I'm off. I pretty much have to chuck all the plotting notes I wrote down. I'm writing massive amounts of words. I hate 90 percent of them, but I'm not going to stop and think about that until I hit The End like a crash test dummy. So this is what my my story looks like if I took it out of my head and made it tangible.

And it all makes sense when I look at it. I can also see I don't have parts of what needs to be written down and in plain sight. They are simply missing here and in my head, because it's all fuzzy. It's strange and weird, but it gets the words down so I'm not questioning it.


  1. Structure works only to a certain extent, and then slams in a head on collision with creativity. They don't mix all that well. There exists a razor thin line where they coexist amiably. Finding it can be disconcerting. :)

    1. lol Bernard, I can agree in part. If one is focusing so much on the structure they can lose that magic of creativity. When the author doesn't write something the way it's coming to them because their little spreadsheet doesn't have THAT written down, then yes, structure hinders story.

      But even then it's not the structure that's the problem. It's the writer putting structure on the pedestal, the one where story should be. Write the story the way it comes to you and surprisingly the structure is still there. :)