Thursday, December 08, 2011

In Process (first drafts): November 2011

“Fairfax”. Started month with about about 36,000 words, in the midst of Chapter 14. Ended with about 43,000 and having started Chapter 17.

Have I mentioned my process? When I start a novel, I always feel like everything is going to be great this time. I have a brilliant idea, and I just can’t wait to start RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! I write about 15,000 words, and then I realize that I don’t know what happens next. I have a general idea of how things need to end (giant robots!) but I don’t know how I’m going to get from here (burned house in the woods and water wheel and witch hunter) to making the giant robots and having the battle. So I write an outline of the next 75 things that are going to happen between here and the ending (that’s one thing for every thousand words I have left to write).

I do not write the outline from now to the end, I start with the end, and then fill in backwards, and then frontwards, and then I fill in the middle. And then I largely ignore the outline and write another 20,000 words. Then I get stuck again and I go and look at the outline, and try to cross things off that I’ve covered.

This is not pretty. I have covered more than 30 of these things. I do not know who the bad guy is, or some other essential piece of information. I write another outline, this time with 55 things in it, trying to get back on track to the same ending. I write some more.

That’s where I am now.

In process, November, 2011

“Dowsing”. (short story, 5K). Finished typing the rewrite, wound up with 6500 words. Edited the first 3000, and then printed again and edited the whole thing on the premise that the beginning is always the worst part. Posted on OWW and got four quick crits, suggesting that the ending was too sudden. That was kind of what I thought before posting it. I let Ed read it too.

Toothbrushing Club. (Middle Years novel). So, this year I forewent (if that’s a word) NaNoWriMo on the premise that I don’t need another unedited manuscript lying around, and instead I need to edit one of those down, making November in fact NaNoEdMo. But then I did not apply my usual NaNoWriMo discipline, and instead worked on that short story (not a waste of time by any means) and then screwed around for several days.

So, I found myself on November 16 thinking, Oh dear, I guess I’d better read this sucker.

I wrote TbC several years ago, and then apparently tried to edit it without actually reading it. In retrospect, this was not a good method. I think what I did, and this was probably at least two years ago, was I broke the story into chunks, most two or three pages long, and then moved them around until the story made sense. Probably reading the story had become too painful. I wrote the first draft, if I recall correctly, pretty quickly and in out of order chunks. This may work for some people and some stories (I think Justine Larbalestier wrote Liar this way, using Scrivener, but I don’t use Scrivener, and TbC isn’t that complicated, and I’m not her, and Liar is an amazing novel by the way) but perhaps not this story and/or not me.

By the time I started reading this novel on November 16, with a goal of having a second draft by the end of November 2011, I had mostly forgotten where I was going with it but knew the general plot, and I could finally read it with fresh eyes. It didn’t start off that badly. But however, it is not the same story that I thought I had written. I guess I did a lot of editing in my mind in the four years from when I wrote it.

Now, a week into December, I have gone through the first half, rewritten, revised, moved stuff around, added scenes and tried to make others have a point, deleted redundant material. My goal is to have another draft (I’m calling it Draft 3) by Christmas break.

Have to find the crits I’ve gotten.
“Succubus”. Short story; working on 2nd draft
Pampelmouse. (MY novel)
“Chickpea”. (short story) Ending?
Troll. (short story)

Being reviewed
“Dowsing”. 5 crits, now, on OWW.

Fair Isle Argyle socks. Ignoring. There's not enough contrast between my two colors, and I've cast on too many stitches, so I think I need to start again.
Blackwork socks. Gift, the first of the Christmas knitting. Finished.
Border socks. Gift. First pair done, second pair started.
Commuter gloves. Gift. First started.
I so badly want to start a sweater, it’s killing me!