Saturday, January 28, 2017

The First Draft-How to do it in 16 days!



This is about that time I drafted a book in 16 days.  Does that sound crazy? It wasn't, it was actually easy. And to add to that, I finished the draft of a book I started Mid December before I started this one, and I took 2 weeks off for Christmas.

And neither are absolutely horrible drafts.

The book I just finished was a project I'm publishing myself simply because I want to get it out there, it's a fun book, a story to celebrate the 150th birthday of Canada and there isn't enough time to shop it out to publishers.  I'll do that with the next one.

Meanwhile, I know you writer types. You want to know one thing. How did I do it?

1. I set a goal of 1000 words per day, 5 days per week, 7000 per week.  The fact is the first 1000 words are the hardest. I started every day at 9 am knowing I had a block of three hours to complete 1000 words. That had to be done, and it was every day. Some days I struggled to get that many but I always did it but most days I did far more, usually between 3000 and 5000. I was slowed down only by the odd google to research something.

2. I did it nearly all in dialogue which is my weakness.  Now I get to improve my description in rewrites which is far easier for me. And of course, when I started reading I had some fairly good description in there anyway.

3. This is something that may have given me an edge.  I'm a really fast typist, 80 words a minute back when I was tested last. I didn't even learn to type until I was 25 but since that time, I've typed a helluva lot. And now, my typing is super fast.

4. I never gave up, even in the moments where I thought, this is awful, this is boring, this isn't going anywhere because I had only an idea. I didn't have a fully developed story.

5. I trusted the process.  Nearly two-thirds of the way into the story I had no clue where it was headed. I just kept going. Then, during a conversation with a friend about something totally unrelated it hit me. So I started writing out that idea and it all came together from that point. I did have to go back and insert some references to the thing that came to me, but that is how it goes. Still finished the draft.

6. I set the goal at 50,000 words as the finish, the book will be around 60,000 but that's fine. Getting to 50,000 meant novel-length and accomplishment. Realizing there were six more chapters required after I reached 50,000 was fine. If I could write thirty-six chapters, I could write six more right?

7. I just did it. I set a time to start, a time to finish and just do it.

8. I'm in rewrites, end of this week it should go to readers, then a week later off to editors. The minute this goes to editors, I'm starting another book.  Don't ever start writing. It must become the thing you do, no matter what. Great swathes of time without writing aren't what writers have. I hated even taking the weekends off but I am finding it does help with burnout.

9. There are no secrets. You want to write books, write them.

Many of you are thinking, yeah, but is it good? It can't be that good. Well, it's actually quite good, not Pulitzer prize good, but a really good, fun, quick-to-read book. And that was the goal so I've achieved it.

Write. Sit down, make the goals and write.  Excuses don't write books.  The photo above is just an inspiration, the cover is being designed by a very talented graphic artist and will be available for reveal soon.

Have a fantastic day everybody

Carolyn


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