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Aug 2, 2010

Behold My Invention, the Wheel

You know what I've just discovered?

My manuscript doesn't have to be perfect the first time. I can start out with this thing called a "rough draft." Get the main shape of the plot down on paper. Then go back with a finer brush and paint in the details.

Whoah! Did I think of that all by myself? Man, I'm a genius!

Ok, ok, this is Novelwriting 101. I am a big dork. Sometimes you have rediscover basic rules for writing over again. As the saying goes, "A fool can be told something 1000 times and never learn it. A genius need be told only seven-hundred-and-twenty-six times."

* * *

Speaking of trying something 726 times, I have again re-arranged Dindi (the series). Quick history: The project started as one 200,000 word book with 7 sections. That was too long, so I thought, what if I make each section into its own book? I wrote an additional 90,000 words for book one. Then I decided that I wanted the series finished, whether Book 1 has sold yet or not, and 7 books was too long. I played around with a quartet.

Inspiration: I have 300,000 words written and a complete series arc. How about a TRILOGY? See how I do that? First I invent a wheel, now a stone ax. I amaze myself.

Seriously, the reason I dismissed a trilogy before was because I couldn't figure out how to divide 7 by 3. Math, not my forte. (See the post on this topic on The Screaming Guppy.) Then I had a BRILLIANT idea. This time I'm not being sarcastic. Yes, a little bit self-mocking, just to pretend I'm being humble, but mostly I am serious. I re-arranged the order of the seven sections!

Now I have one (hopefully) polished mss (Book 1) and two virtually complete but extremely rough drafts. The word count aim for both is 100,000-110,00 words. As they stand:

Book 2: 102,000 words
Book 3: 88,000 words

I'm a happy camper.

* * *

Back to work on my wheel.

Or I could think of it as writing a 300 page synopsis.


Ban said...

WHAT?!?! 'rough draft' you say?!?! You ARE a genius ... why did I never come up with something like that?
And to think, all this time I've been trying to make every line perfect right from the get go.

WHAT?!?! 'rough draft' you say?!?!


scott g.f.bailey said...

I have so many wheels lying around my writing desk that I'm forever tripping over them on the way to my chair. It's so easy to get overwhelmed and forget that not only have a bazillion people already solved the problem I'm facing (whatever problem it is), I have likely already solved the same problem while writing a previous book.

I am in an email conversation with Davin Malasarn and I am about to tell him, as it happens, to stop fussing with his prose and just finish his damned first draft of the story. I am also in the middle of a difficult section of my current project and I am moving slowly because I don't want to screw it up. Like I'm not going to rewrite the whole thing anyway during revisions. I should just plow ahead without fear or expectations. The writing would be better anyway if I did that.

Tara Maya said...

@ Ban. LOL. Well, your scenes are perfect, right? If you could just decide what order to put them in! :)

@ scott bailey. Good point -- it's easy to forget how one solved problems even for an earlier wip.

Revisions. The evil twin of the rough draft.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I've written those really long synopses frustrating!

And yes, Scott, you keep telling that to Davin. He's killing me with all his fiddling around! *looks over at Davin...*