Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today in research

Today's topic was the goldrush in Colorado. It's for a short story, so I didn't have to go into too much depth. Yet. We'll see when I read draft 3 what I need, but I'm still working through draft two.

A few days ago I tweeted that even my second drafts suck. This was in response (well, more in comment to, because I didn't reply to the actual person) to someone who said they had gotten to the point where they could reliably produce a decent first draft. But my second drafts aren't all bad. By the time I get towards the ending, there's much less red on the page. It's just the first half of both first and second drafts that is really, really awful. Posible causes:
  • I start writing before the story has jelled in my mind
  • My endings are really bad, but I've run out of steam on the editing towards the end, so I don't mark up as much
  • I feel the need to explain my world at the beginning of the story, and then I need to take that out and spread it around later

I don't have a solution yet, but it's something to think about.

With this story in particular, I didn't have a setting chosen, though I had characters and action, so most of the stuff I'm cutting out is rethinking the setting. Hence the connection to today's research. Also, I wrote this first draft on the computer, and my work habits, especially with short stories, tend to be a little non-linear on the computer (I think this is why I spend so much time moving things around in Toothbrushing Club, because I never had the structure firmly in mind). I wonder if I'll have the same problem when I look some more at my nanowrimo project. When I write on paper, I go straight through from beginning to end. In the current project, there's almost no exposition at all, which is a flaw, too.

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