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.

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