Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Draft Pep Talk

So I officially started on the first draft of my next work in progress. What does officially mean, you ask? It means three things:

  1. I’ve decided on which project to focus on (having wavered between 3-4 valid ideas).
  2. I filled in a couple of note cards with events I *think* will happen.
  3. I opened my pocket-sized notebook where I record my daily word counts, turned to a brand new page and wrote the tentative title to this WIP at the top along with the word count total goal and my completion date goal.

Now, as I get ready to plunge in, meeting those daily word count goals, I’ve decided to give myself a little pep talk of ideas that I’ll want to keep in mind as go along.

  1. Don’t get too upset whenever you fail to meet one day’s word count goal. Especially in the beginning. No matter what, the start of a story always takes more time than the end. There’s a reason for this. The start of the story involves the heaviest amount of world-building / character building. Think about it. I’ll probably spend a good hour or so a day, just figuring out the first and last names of important characters and places. But toward the end — not so much.
  2. Remember that if I’m not having fun with a particular scene that I’m writing then nobody else will either (hint: skip those).
  3. Ask and know the answer to questions right from the start. Why does this character care about that? Why does this character behave in this way?
  4. Don’t forget the description (one of my chronic failings whenever drafting).
  5. Write every day. Don’t slack. Don’t get distracted. Use the time you have now. There’s nothing better.
  6. Don’t come to the page lightly, which is one of my all-time favorite quotes from Uncle Stevie, and the one I struggle with the most when drafting. Don’t just write words because it’s easy to write them and because you’re trying to meet some word count goal. Don’t just slip along, mindlessly, uncaringly. Take this writing business seriously.
  7. Have fun. Do it because you love it. Because it fulfills. There’s no other reason to do it. None at all.

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