Monday, June 11, 2012

From idea to first draft

I've been thinking about this a lot this year....and feel like this is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, parts of my process of writing a novel.
Ideas, as all of us writers know, abound around us. Of course translating those ideas into a cohesive novel is another thing.
Yet for me, it's the conversion of that little spark into something meaty, something that deserves to be told is the hardest part. Over the course of the six and a half fulls, about ten partials, and countless first chapters, believe you me, they are really countless, I have learnt that the pre-work process, the process of fermenting of the idea is as important as the first draft itself. I'm always eager to start the shiny new idea, the great cute meet, the awesome first liner that just begs to be written.
Yet if I start writing too soon, without thinking through, I have found the hard way that I run out of steam about 3000 words in.
It's a better investment of my time thinking a bit, scribbling notes wherever I'm on whatever I can find at that moment about characters, their GMCs, their fears, their life lessons, and what it is that the antagonist or in our case, the hero or the heroine force the other main character to learn..
And by this point, the shine of the idea wears off a little, but the substance, the real grit of it begins to appear, and it is all I can do to get what I have in my mind on to the page...

What about you? Which part of the writing process is the hardest or the easiest for you, and why?


Jackie Ashenden said...

I'm totally with you, Sri. These days I HAVE to think about a new idea a LOT before I actually start writing. Saves heaps of rewrites. I used to find beginnings so easy but now they're the hardest part of the book to write because of all the things I have to figure out beforehand! Sometimes though, I do have to start in order to find out what it is I don't know. If that makes sense...:-)

Maya Blake said...

The first draft is a KILLER for me, mostly because I'm dying to get it done asap but either don't have enough time to write or the characters are misbehaving.

The fun part for me is jotting down the snippets of scenes that seem to come from nowhere! Those "Ooooh" moments are priceless to me (I have about six pages of randon scenes in my curent wip, lol). Then comes the the editing and layering in conflict, which I also love :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great post! I totally agree. I did well with my first couple of chapters in New Voices, which I entered after dashing them off, zero planning, and when it came to writing the full ms I totally floundered when I got halfway. In the end I had to leave it and I think to go back would involve a huge rewrite.

I definitely do better when I've done a good couple of weeks planning.

Samantha Darling said...

Great post!

I have to admit, I'm terrible at planning. I seem to plod along with my writing. I think because I work a day job (like the majority of us!) and have a family, I find my writing time is often interrupted and put on I just grab a few minutes whenever possible. My current MS has been in the making for nearly three years! But very nearly there now! YAY!