Monday, 17 August 2009

WIP 2 Finished

The first draft of my WIP 2 - Fantasy novel is finished at 66287 words. Much too short for a novel and shorter than 90K target. That's not an issue, because I know there are plenty of things that I need to flash out. I am a putterinner, more than takeouter. But I realised that instead of trying to flash out things now during the first draft, it was best just to get the story finished. I am not at all happy with the first draft. But I am happy that I have seen it through. The main reason is because for last couple of weeks, I have been re-reading some of the books on writing craft, and I am very conscious of all the things that are wrong with my first draft. I am also aware that while the concept is good (in my opinion), the first draft doesn't convey the depth of emotion that I know should be there. So happy that I finished it, but a little disheartened too. I am not at all going to give up on this novel, but with first drafts piling up that needs a lot of edit, the question becomes WHERE TO START? All the three WIPs I have finished are the ones I started while ago, before becoming aware of "craft" There is still one more WIP which is currently 44% done that I plan to finish regardless of how bad it seems. But everything after that hopefully should be a bit better due to all the things I am now more conscious of. How do you even begin to fix a draft that seems a total mess? Right now, for this particular WIP, I am more inclined to outline again after reading it (after cooling period), and then maybe just re-write the whole damn thing. I haven't decided yet. For now, I am going to think about finishing the balance on the next WIP and thinking about NaNo novel. Then I will worry about the messy ones. How do you deal with first drafts that seem like total mess?


  1. Despite you not being happy with it, congratulations on finishing the draft. :-)

    Personally, I treat all drafts the same, whether I love or hate 'em. I just have to work a bit harder on the "bad" ones. ;-)

    Leave it to rest for a while though, you may feel different when you come back to it.


  2. Congrats on finishing the draft! :-)

    I'm kind of at the same point you are - I have three finished drafts that are a *mess* because I wrote them before I really became cognizant of my own failings (the big ones). I went through them and started editing them, and just got overwhelmed by the massive edits (rewrites, really) that they will need. I ended up putting them aside again for the moment.

    What I did was write another shorter draft with my newer knowledge - and it is much less of a mess than those first drafts, so I'm using that to learn my editing skills on. It's less daunting, so I feel quite a bit better about working on it (less overwhelmed).

    I'm going to completely re-plan and rewrite one of those first drafts, because I just love the concept, and want to see what will happen when I apply what I've learned to writing it. But I'm going to get at least one completely edited draft done first, so when I go back to do the rewrite, it will be fresh, and I'll have more experience. The other two might just become "trunk novels" if I want to move on to new things.

    Good luck, whatever you decide. Takes a lot of tenacity to tackle a super-messy draft, I think!

  3. I am so envious. You are such a prolific writer, even if you're still working on drafts.

    I know what you mean about dealing with a "mess" though. My first WiP has been sitting on the shelf for some time now, because I honestly feel completely lost with it, and I'm just not sure if I can resurrect the story. Someday perhaps...

    In any event, I do have a concept for NaNoWriMo, so I'm very anxious for it to get here actually. Good luck with your editing though. I'm sure you'll just dive in soon enough and clean them up.

  4. Adam,
    thanks to the tip you posted a while back, I follow your advise on reading the draft. So after a cooling off period, which will probably be quite long because I don't want to give it up for November while I focus on NaNo, I intend to do a read through and see how I feel.

    Thank you for your comments. I think we are going through some similar issues. I am still thinking about how I am going to approach editing, but I think for now I will just focus on developing my skills, and write new material.

    You made my day :) I don't think of myself as a prolific writer (considering all those people who churn out 10K per day), so that's very complimentary.

    For your WIP, I do feel that if you feel stuck with that one, just move on to the next one. Sometimes, it's a matter of writing right story at the right time. Good luck with yours.

  5. You don't sound too much like a lost wanderer to me. Three and a half books completed to first draft is considerably more than most people can claim. So well done. However, it does sound as though you might need to bring a little more order to your writing and here's a suggestion. It works for me, so you might like to try it.

    When I was writing my first fiction book, Randolph's Challenge Book One - The Pendulum Swings, which was published in May this year, I worked to an outline story and chapter plan and adopted a strict discipline of 1,000 words a day plus editing the previous day's 1,000 words, plus back-writing as necessary. Using that technique I fleshed out as I went along and wasn't faced with the enormous (and demotivating) task of a 'finished' book that had to, effcetively, be re-written. The whole process took me about 2 hours a day once I got into my stride.

    I ended up with 140,000 words in 14 chapters. I'm using the same technique for book two which is currently at 40,000 words half way through chapter 4 and it looks like it will probably top the 150,000 words for the completed book.

    Hope this helps.

    Chris Warren
    Author and Freelance Writer
    Randolph's Challenge Book One - The Pendulum Swings

  6. Chris, thanks very much for explaining your method. I will definitely give it a go. First three novels are more messier because I started them before I really learned much about the craft. Now, I do focus more on outlining, so hopefully that will improve the next one.

    And you are right on target. Order is what I need.