Saturday, December 3, 2011

Writing Process - revising the first draft

I've finally gotten back into the swing of writing (though, admittedly, I was contributing quite a bit here at Warrior27 when I wasn't actually "writing" or working on my own fiction and such). I've sent off a short story to a few more publications (hoping to find that one editor who will "get" this story - not that the rejections thus far have been unexpected, nor do I feel I was slighted by not having this story accepted, but it can often come down to an editor understanding what the writer is going for and hopefully catching them on a good day, but I digress)

I also sent off a non-fiction manuscript (the first 30,000 words) to another publisher with fingers crossed.

And, I pulled out one of the many first drafts I've been sitting on, allowing them to percolate a bit before working to wrestle them into something resembling a good story. It took me twice as long to do the revision on this story than it took to initially write it, but that's because my first draft practice generally involves me metaphorically "vomiting" the entire story onto the page - or at least a vague outline/list of scenes, etc. - typing as fast as I can in order to keep up with the ideas coming into my head. Because of this pace, I very often am spelling out motivations and scenarios in far too much, and too dry, detail just because that's how it's coming to me and I don't want to lose my thoughts.

Of course, these less than poetic first drafts also come about because just as many days can be spent laboring over the words, being unable to find that one word I have skulking about the back of my mind, and I end up putting down some description of what I'm looking for rather than the actual scene. It can be equal "speed" and "labor" during this, but I always feel good after a day of writing (and can quickly become an ass when I go days without writing).

Anyway, as an example, here's a sample page from my revised first draft:

As Greg Rucka says (as I'm sure all, or most, writers believe), the real writing comes in the revising process. I'm in the process of applying my revisions to this draft and am anxious to see how many words I managed to lop off in the process. I know there were entire sections of this short that got the axe, so it should be - as is common, for me - quite a bit.

And then, I'm going to apply a new technique I learned from Joe Hill's blog and totally re-type this second draft into its third draft, "making every sentence and word earn its keep," to paraphrase Hill. After that, I hope to have something that will be worthwhile for the world (or at least some small publication of short fiction).

We'll see.


No comments: