First Draft: week 2

July 29, 2011 at 10:37 am (Writing work)

Not so good with the word count this week.  I’m averaging only about ~2000/day, which while better than I’ve done in the past is nowhere near what I know I can do.  (Funny how that works.  Three weeks of 5000 words per day will completely skew my ideas of what is normal.)  Part of it’s because I had some obligations cutting into my writing time, but that’s just an excuse.

The other part is that I’ve hit the point in the outline where I wasn’t really clear on what happens, and so that’s slowing me down a little.  It’s always a temptation at this point to say “well, once I clear the next couple of chapters, things really pick up!”  Experience, though, has taught me that maybe the action might pick up, but the writing gets no easier.  Right now I know where I need everyone to be, I know how I want the chapters to end, I know what information needs to be presented so that it won’t be pulled out of my hat at the end . . . it’s just getting from A to B that’s the problem.

Say, for example, I want to end the chapter with a dirigible crash.  (I don’t, but let’s go with that for now.)  I know the crash will be at a certain point in the plot and in the chapter.  But how does it happen?  How can I plausibly get certain people off the dirigible while leaving others on it?  How would the characters react if I choose one method (no, this one wouldn’t desert his friend! No, this one has no reason to go down with the ship!) and does it stay consistent?  I can list the reasons why they’re in this particular situation, but I can’t waste a whole chapter or even a whole scene on that.  And then there’s the pressure of pacing, and whether I’ve worked out the timelines sufficiently to ensure that two chapters down the road, it makes sense for the survivors to run into the big evil dude.  (Also not going to happen, but you get the gist.)

I know a lot of this can be fixed in the next revision, and looking at what I’ve written, it’ll have to be fixed.  But it takes a conscious effort to put those concerns aside and just write.  This is a first draft.  It doesn’t need to be perfect.  (Repeat as necessary.)

Still, I’m further in the story, some things are coming together, and I’ve stopped (for the day at least — and this weekend, I’m going to see if I can hit the 5K mark) at a really good action point.  I should be able to jump right in tomorrow.

Bits written this week:

  • a distraction that actually works this time
  • the big expositiony chapter (remember I said it will have to be fixed?  Yeah.)
  • a very nice end to the expositiony chapter that is perfectly in-character
  • more fake trashy novels for one character to read and comment on (I talked about this at Readercon, and I wonder if that’s why I’m adding more now.  Well, I can cut them next time through.)
  • a completely gratuitous shirtless scene that will, unfortunately, have to be cut if I can’t think up a better reason for it
  • the fuse lit for a really good boom next chapter

And the wordcount as a whole is getting up there.  Ten and a half chapters to go, I think.  Assuming one of them doesn’t split again.

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