bookmark_borderFeeling the rough edges of a first draft

Writing has many different feels.

Sometimes your head is really in the scene, you’re part of the story, and the words are just descriptions of what you experience as you live the story.

Other times the writing is pieced together over time, in different sittings, and you scratch and claw it together.


I finally completed a short story that I started last spring, something that I felt close to, but which I couldn’t come up with the right scenes to put it all together. I knew what I wanted to happen, in general terms, but I didn’t know what the exact circumstances were going to be.

Now it’s done, or at least I have a complete first draft. It’s only some 4,100 words or so, or two days worth of NaNoWriMo, or half a day of 3DayNovel writing, but I struggled with getting something that worked for the structure that I had worked out for telling what I wanted to tell. But the interesting thing is how ragged some of the edges feel.

It’s short. I think because it was written over multiple sittings over a period of time, it feels as if each sentence is a little crystal, some stronger and better and more clearly defined than others, but each fitted together to fill out the story.

I feel the edges of these crystals much more vividly than I do with other writings. It’s as if each crystal is crafted and fitted to work. Because they were built so individually, they fit, but the fit leaves gaps and sharp edges, like some uneven cobblestone road. The stones are multiple shapes and fit like jigsaw pieces, except where they jut out and don’t work perfectly together in the same direction.

A rather convoluted puzzle metaphor in three dimensions, but I can almost see the rough edges, the uneven joints where a user could snag themselves as they read. Now my job is to remove the pieces one by one and smooth the direction and fit, while at the same time trying to align the focus and fine tune each crystal as an individual entity.

The point of this blog post is that I feel that the faster, more flowing, intense, focused writing might suffer from this less, because you live in the moment of the experience that you are writing about, so that the words flow smoother and join better. It’s certainly much easier to maintain a common alignment of focus when you’re writing in a single mindset.

There are many approaches to writing, and each has a different weighting of the different combination of challenges and advantages. And I think that the multiple sitting-intellectually structured approach leads to more rough edges and misalignments.

bookmark_borderSequel finished

So, another NaNoWriMo has come and gone. Win number three, with plenty of days to spare.

After the plot difficulties and working to find the answers that I mentioned in the previous post, things came together. I fought my way through  to a reasonable plot. Then, once I came to the point where I had “all the holes plugged” in my middle so that the ending would work, I tried to get to the ending too fast. After some time struggling with this I realized that I needed to take some time and to fill things out. After that point things progressed pretty smoothly.

I tried to begin the review process but it’s too difficult. I don’t know whether it’s because the plot is too bloody complicated and I don’t have a handle on it, or because there are plot issues and writing issues and I can’t do both, or I can’t look at plot without seeing and sensing the writing issues. I do know that I don’t want to spend a lot of time or effort looking at the writing until I get a firmer grasp on the plot, since it seems inefficient to revise something that may get tossed in the bin entirely.

What I may do is go back to the first novel in the series and figure out how and where the additions that I wrote during the summer will fit in, since I haven’t done that yet. Then, I may highlight the additions because I have readers that have seen the earlier version but they need to know the additions before they can make sense of the sequel. That may give me enough distance to be able to start the review process.

If you know me, and are interested, I’m always looking for more readers.