Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing Dirty

I'm about 15,000 words into my latest project. That's 65 pages in Word. In book terms, it's not very long at all.

I cannot express strongly enough how much I hate first drafts. There's often an initial excitement when creating a story (obviously, because why else would you go to the trouble of writing it down?). I can usually see certain characters very clearly. Certain scenes come to me, too--often the beginning and the end. But then there's that dreaded middle part. You know, the part with obstacles and secondary characters and subplots? The part that's supposed to make the story sing, make the plot resonate, make your characters unforgettable?

My first draft of that part is usually terrible. No matter how much I try to make it otherwise. No matter how glittering it feels in my head. Even when I have moments where I feel like the words are pouring out of me like poetry, I'll then make the mistake of going back and reading it days later. It's dirt-water, people. Muddy, disgusting, common dirt-water.

I will make it to 16,000 words and beyond, though. I'll do it by reminding myself that there's nothing quite as elating as finishing a first draft. At least for a day or two.

Before you get to...revising.


  1. Personally, I'll take writing a first draft over revising any day! (Not that I want to READ the piece of trash, but write it? Yeah!)

    I know what you mean about the middle part, though. Sometimes I just skip the middle and come back to it later (is that fair?).

    I have many a manuscript sitting, ready to write the middle.

  2. I know lots of writers write out of order but, for some reason, I've never been able to really get into that. It's probably because I know if I abandon the middle for a while, I'll never go back to it. My crutch is usually to outline.

  3. Oh I haaaate rough drafts too! I can edit all day, but that blank page where the story is to unfold itself is just so daunting. Good luck with the middle!