Music & Writing Monday: First Drafts and WriteOnCon

Hello everyone! In an attempt to get back to some sort of regular blogging schedule before school starts back up, here's the first Music and Writing Monday for the Fall.

I'm 43k words into the first draft of a new manuscript, a little past halfway through. I've got an outline and everything, and I know where the story is going, but it's been a seriously long time since I've finished a first draft, and I don't really remember what that felt like for my other books. By this point I'm crawling through it--word after word, until it feels like it takes forever to write one chapter.

It's not that I can't find the words to use. It's that my chapters from past books have been 4-5k words long, and for this one they're continually ending up at 1.5-2k.

Not that this is a bad thing, of course. Some books don't need long chapters. Some books don't take a lot of words to tell a story. But something's wrong when you can tell as you're writing it that the pacing of the scenes is off and the world building is less than adequate.

SO. This is the point where I had to stop and remind myself that this is a FIRST DRAFT. Which means a couple things:

A.) The word count doesn't matter. This is what I seriously have to drill into my own head. Word. Count. Does. Not. Matter. It could be 10k and still be a first draft, as long as the entire story was there. Just because most of my books end up between 80 and 95k doesn't mean the very first draft of this one has to. That's what second and third drafts are for. Building and cutting and all that extra stuff.

B.) The first draft is the base. For me, the first draft is a base layer--the foundation to build from. With every draft after the first one, I add in more world building and character development. I forget this. A lot. Because I'm not used to working in a story world that isn't fully formed like the one in THE NOCTURNIAN is.

C.) I'm being impatient. Nothing new here. I wish I had a piece of technology that I could plug into my brain that would write my books for me. But that sounds like it could develop some dangerous AI, and I don't mess with that shit. I'm constantly telling myself to calm down and not expect something perfect the first time around.


But enough about that. The other thing I want to talk about is WriteOnCon. I think a lot of writers know what WriteOnCon is already, but in case you don't, it's an online writing conference held every August. Writers, published authors, and agents get together for vlogs, podcasts, chats, and all sorts of fun things. On the forums, unagented writers can also post their work for critique and the chance to be found by one of the conference's Ninja Agents.

If you're unagented, it's an awesome way to get exposure, meet other writers, and hone your skill. The best part? It's completely free.

I did it last year, and it turned out to be an awesome idea. The forums have been going crazy for the past week or so, but the conference itself is this week, the 14 and the 15. If you're already participating, good luck with your critiques and the ninja agents! If you haven't participated before but you're thinking about it, I HIGHLY recommend it.


And now for the music part of Music and Writing Mondays. This is the song for the villain in my WiP. Oh geez, do I love him:

Believer, by Viva Voce





14 comments:

  1. I am right there with you on the crawling through draft 1. I thought SP was going to be like LBD, in the sense that Draft 1 would be a huge mess of words, and now I'm actually thinking the word count is going to be too low.

    But like you said, it's just the base, and I can always go back and fill in the spots that seem underdeveloped. I just want it DONE!

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    1. Ugh, I'm there too, with the too-low word count. But I guess I'd rather have too few words than too many and not know what to cut.

      AND YES SP NEEDS TO BE DONE SO I CAN READ IT.

      Delete
  2. I am also ploughing my way through a new first draft. I just told myself not to worry about how rubbish the writing is. It's all about getting the idea out. Problems can be solved later.

    You are so right about WoC. Everyone over there is so helpful! ^_^

    Thanks again for posting that song. I loooooooove it :D

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    1. Exactly. And it can be so hard to soldier through when you can see all the little faults and everything, and all you want to do is fix them but you know you have to finish writing first.

      They really are! And I love the song, too. ^_^

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  3. Thanks for the reminder! I was getting panicky over the word count in my wip. I've been editing two "finished" novels (are they ever really finished?) for so long, I forgot how much the word count can grow on revisions. Thanks for reminding me to just chill out and write! :)

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    Replies
    1. No problem! I have to do the same for myself ALL THE TIME. >.<

      Delete
  4. "With every draft after the first one, I add in more world building and character development."

    That is what I needed to hear. I keep fussing over this.

    Great post. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Same here! I have to remind myself of that stuff ALL THE TIME. >.<

      Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Urrrgh, can't believe I missed this. Well, actually I can, yesterday was a computer-obsessed introvert's day from hell. Anyway.

    Yeah, first drafts. FIRST EFFING DRAFTS. Just the name and detail inconsistencies alone in mine are enough to make me want to tattoo "hack" on my forehead.

    Oh yeah! Remember WriteOnCon? Last year? Where I stalked you? And now you can never leave me even if you want to? Best. Con. Ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes, and yes. Pretty much all of that.

      Delete
  6. Yes, Writeoncon is a must. I tried it out to see what I think and already I've gotten wonderful helpful feedback. Not to mention I see some books I can't WAIT to read in print in the future!

    As for first drafts, I'm working on the second in my YA series and it's slow going too. I'm having a hard time with the chapter breaks this time around for some reason.

    Total agreement on adding more stuff after the first draft. Just get something down- anything! Even rambling piles of word vomit can be tamed into something usable most of the time! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I agree about WriteOnCon! And the chapter breaks--I'm having trouble with that, too.

      Thanks! And good luck to you, too!

      Delete
  7. I really liked your post about first drafts. I'm also ridiculously impatient and wished words would just magically appear so I could finish writing a whole book in seconds. But alas, it does not work that way :(
    P.S. First time commenting here. You have a great blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I think, if I could write whole books in seconds, I'd have a lot of books done, but I wouldn't be nearly as satisfied or proud of them. >.<

      Thanks for stopping by, Fiona!

      Delete

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