Writing the First Draft of My First Novel 02

The writing hasn’t been going too well 🙁

SilencioBarnes on Twitter

I #amwriting a chapter long dialogue infodump :/ we’ll see if we can change that once the draft is done

When I started, I was on a small vacation from work. Unfortunately, when I started back up at the 9 to 5, the writing stagnated. I did do a lot of thinking about my story, and that’s good. But thinking about it ain’t writing it.

It’s not just the regular job though. I heard several times that for writers, especially discovery writers, the story might not make itself apparent until you are several thousands of words in. I can attest to that and say it is absolutely true. Approaching the 30,000-word mark, I started to finally see the beginning of the shape of my story. That disturbed me…greatly.

SilencioBarnes on Twitter

I #amwriting still. About 22,000 words in. Still trying to figure out just what the hell is going on

SilencioBarnes on Twitter

I #amwriting and I’m at 25,000 words in. This is a milestone for me 🙂 a quarter of my goal.

30,000 words is a lot of words. I did not want to think that all of this writing was for nothing. Keep in mind that I said that I am only just STARTING to see the SHAPE of my story.

That means I have 30,000 words that are pretty much worthless. And it also means that I hit a stumbling block. Everything in me wants me to just start the whole thing over from the beginning with all of the changes I need to make. I need to make my main character more of a dick. I need to start further back in the timeline than I initially started with. I need to set up the situation in a completely different way than I originally intended. I need to start from scratch.

But all of the masters have told me that I need to keep going forward. I need to finish this rough draft.

Two things here: First is that statement about going back in the timeline and the other is the idea of a rough draft.

Timeline. A constant failure of mines is thinking too far back. Stories are supposed to begin when something changes. Unfortunately, I tend to think of everything in epic scale. For instance: I had an idea for an epic fantasy series. I started writing it as I do most things. No forethought, just sit down, start typing, and see what comes out. Well, once I started typing, I started thinking of all the things that happened to lead up to that current moment. I had a female protagonist, but then I thought about her parents. What was it about them that made her who and what she was? Well, thinking of her parents led me to conjuring up an entire epic fantasy series dealing with her father and his cousin. Yes…a whole trilogy.

Plotting out that series in my mind, I THEN had an idea for an epic fantasy SERIES that dealt with the progenitor of one of the secondary characters. This would be a series that took place in the far distant past. So I started thinking on that. Overwhelmed by it all, I just gave up altogether, but I never stopped thinking about all three epic storylines. But do you see the utter madness of it? That’s why in my previous post, I said I realized that I was not ready for the epic fantasy.

And this problem of mines has come back to haunt me. Once I started realizing the shape and path of my current story, my mind just started adding to it and adding to it. I wanted this to be a single book with a beginning, middle and end. But the more I think about it and the more I create, the more there is to add. I am already thinking about setting up things that will not bear any fruit until book 3 or 4. But I haven’t even made my way through book 1 yet! It makes me want to just stop altogether.

The other thing is the rough draft. From what I can see, the terms “first” and “rough” are interchangeable. But I’m starting to suspect that discovery writers always have the burden of writing at least one extra draft. I know that when I make it through this very rough draft, it is probably not going to be anything like a coherent story. This is my rough draft. When I’m done, I’ll have to turn it into my first draft. Once I do that, then I will be able to really dig into it and start the process of putting it together correctly.

And that’s ANOTHER thing that has me frozen like a deer in the headlights. I suppose for some, this must come easy. But to me, it’s one of the hardest things I have ever attempted.

So the writing has stagnated. I started writing this post a few days weeks ago. In the meantime, I’ve been doing some writing ABOUT my story, but no actual story writing. As I stated above, the problem is that the story has changed. I don’t know how to continue with the writing.

SilencioBarnes on Twitter

Epiphany: Instead of making the main character clueless, I’ll make him completely in the know, so he can subvert the norms 🙂 I #amwriting

To give an example: I figured out a few things about my main two characters, which changes everything that I have written about them previously. Now, how do I continue with what I am writing when the things I am writing about are no longer true to the story? Do you see what I’m saying?

I had three ideas to try to make it through.

  1. Continue writing, but just change the character interactions to match what they should be. The problem with that is, because the characters are drastically different, certain events that I have already written and ones that I am currently writing will also be drastically different. Some scenarios probably won’t happen at all. So it would be silly to just change up the character motivations, language, thought processes etc.
  2. Just jump forward in the story to a scene that I know will happen and write from there. This idea appealed to me the most. It made the most logical sense. But it would still leave a lot of unwritten stuff that I would have to get to eventually anyway. I still want that stuff there so I can be more grounded in what comes later.
  3. Outline, as best I can, all of the events from start up until the current point in the story. That way, I will have the skeleton of the story there for me to reference. With that in place, I can continue from where I left off just like idea #1.

I figure I could go with all three ideas. I can outline the new backstory and early chapters up until the point where I currently am, and then I can jump just a little bit forward in the story and just go from there. Of course, once I make it to the end, I can go back and rewrite the whole beginning.

Does any of that make sense? Even with my many split infinitives and sentences that begin with conjunctions? Well, it makes sense to me. And it’s for me that I’m writing this blog post…so there 😛

Oh yea, in my last post I promised you people links! I’ll add them to the next post. I’ve been sitting on this post for so long, I figured I’d just get it out. I will add some audio like I promised though 🙂

Also, if you are interested in some of the free writing software I use then check out my article here: http://silenciobarnes.net/writing/free-novel-and-fiction-writing-software/

1 comment

  1. I am a Program Advisor at Amistad Academy MS in New Haven, CT. My team was selected by irtcnporaoing writing into our process. Students had to write a one paragraph essay answering these questions:•What qualities do you have that you can bring to the FUTP 60 team?•How important is eating healthy and exercising to you?•Name two ideas/activities you have that will motivate students to participate in FUTP 60.•Why do you think FUTP 60 is so important?The purpose of irtcnporaoing writing was to get the students to really think about “why” they wanted to participate in our group. When the students were selected (10 out of 15), we began planning events for the year and working with our Food Service Director. Here are some of the activities we have created over the past 5 months:•Created a 60 minute presentation at a school-wide Town Meeting as our Kick-off event. Parents were invited…big success•A food survey was created for the students to see what they liked about our breakfast and lunch menu, and what they would like to see changed.•We post monthly questions on the walls around our school building. They included fitness, science, nutrition and health questions that are rotated every 4 weeks.•Posted FUTP 60 stickers & posters EVERYWHERE in our building…you can’t miss us!•Fuel Up Fridays at breakfast (We dance, exercise and/or stretch for 5 minutes during breakfast to get our students moving for the day.•Taste tests – during lunch (new fruits, raw veggies, dips etc.)•Fitness breaks – teachers randomly use them when they feel the need…ex. if the energy level in class is low or students seem off task•Participated in the FUTP 60 School Spirit Challenge•Have a student representative that is now the CT State Representative for FUTP 60 by entering the state application process•Created a poster contest for National Physical Fitness & Sport MonthMy team of students have enjoyed creating fitness activities and making positive changes around our school. There is a great sense of pride in every activity that we participate in. We appreciate having the opportunity to engage our school in fun activities that challenge them to think about what they eat, and to include exercise into their daily lifestyle.Althea White (PE Teacher)

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