posted by Rebecca J. Carlson
It's NaNoWriMo, that festive time of year when folks send the internal editor on a long vacation and try to get as many words on the page as fast as they can. There's something wonderful and free about charging headlong into a writing project. Who cares if its 50,000 words of slush?
Actually, I do care, because I'm going to want to revise that slush.
I know I'm not supposed to think about it too much while I'm drafting, but there's got to be something of merit happening somewhere to make all those words WORTH revising.
What do you focus on when you write a first draft?
For me, the first thing that comes is the dialog. I hear the characters talking to each other. Then I put the scene around them, where they are, how they look, what's happening. My husband says I should be a screenplay writer because my first drafts are all dialog and stage directions.
But this time I'm trying something new. I'm focusing hard on how my pov character feels and what he thinks. So far, I like the results.
I don't draft at 1000 words an hour. More like 600. That's because I like to stop and draw floor plans, scour the internet for the perfect name for a walk-on character, research how my characters might make gunpowder from scratch, stand up and act out a scene so I get the blocking right, meditate on the most apt metaphor, or simply dream myself further into the setting. In other words, I have more fun if my fingers don't have to be flying every second.
So what do you do when you first draft?