Monday, September 28, 2015

50k and Counting

I've hit the 50k mark! Hurray! I feel tingly, and I'm smiling like a pirate who just stumbled upon loads and loads of treasure.

I always thought 50k words was impossible. Well, not impossible; that would be an exaggeration. Maybe hard to reach or a gruesome crawl. I thought that writing 50k words would take six months or more. Nope. It took two months and two weeks to reach this goalpost.

Now, a few things I had picked up along the way.

Free writing--

This one's an amazing writing tool. Before, I only used free writing to get me out of writer's block in the middle of a writing session.

Now, I use free writing before I start my writing session. It gets my creative juices going, and it also breaks down my 'inner editor.' Even though I'm on the 2nd draft, I'm rewriting everything, which means I need to bring my 'inner creator' out rather than my 'inner editor.'

For those who don't know what free writing is, it's a writing exercise where just write down everything inside your head. It's stream of consciousness. While you are free writing, you are forbidden to hit the backspace and correct any typos. You just go on and on and on.

However, you need to set a time limit. Ten minutes is the max, and anything more than that is procrastination. Most of the time, I don't use all ten minutes. Usually I end my free writing exercise at the five minute mark.

The novel is moving pretty good, and I'm estimating that the word count could be around 100k. I'll probably do another blogpost when I reach 75k. Until then, I have to write the adventures and heartbreaks of my two protagonists.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The First and Second Draft

Started the 2nd draft of my novel on July 16. On August 11, the novel was at 20,000 words, and as of now, September 13, it's at 39,800 words.

It's strange. I began the 1st draft this year on January and finished it around April. When I started on the 2nd draft, I threw out everything except for the beginning and the end. The middle part is completely rewritten.

My 1st draft was written by the seat of my pants. That means I did not have an outline, a character sheet or a world building sheet to begin with. The only thing I began with was an idea for a short story that eventually turned into a novel.

The 1st draft was terrible: cliched, action packed, with little room for character introspection. On the 2nd draft, however, I fixed what was lacking and added some backstory to illuminate my characters.

The 2nd draft is now relying on an outline. I created an outline for my 2nd draft so I can steer the direction of the story and reinforce its structure.

Sometimes I wonder why I began the story without an outline. Surely, beginning with an outline would save me time from completely rewriting the 2nd draft! But I can't start a story with an outline. I had tried it once. I had an in depth outline to a story I named Powerless, and when the time came to actually write, I lost my enthusiasm.

In retrospect, I understood why. When I write, I don't want to know what's going to happen. I like to venture in a story without an idea of what the outcome might be. I'm a discovery writer.

But that's for the 1st draft. Once I was finished with my 1st draft, I created an outline to bolster my story and give more depth to my characters. I was in the editing/revising phase, so the outline was appropriate. I played in the 1st draft; now I'm working on the 2nd draft. Two hats of the writer.

I always thought that writing a novel was hard, but I'm finding out it's doable. As for publishing this book, that's debatable. It's my first novel and so it's going to stink. However, I won't see it as a waste if it doesn't get published. Think of it as a tuition fee--an expenditure of time and effort and loss of sleep.