Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Keep typing, keep typing!

First drafts make me ill. Literally. I think the amount of mental anguish I develop over fretting over them is second only to the amount of worry I exert over what my teenage boys are doing (or not doing) on the weekends.

My first drafts take on a jumbled, erratic stream of consciousness form rather than a story any half-literate person could ever decipher. With my first novel, I remember closing my eyes and letting my fingers speed over the keyboard hoping to just get any words down on the screen. I never ever stopped to correct my grammar and I certainly never stopped to develop a character or plot her arc. All of that came later. Much later. And only then did writing become my pleasure.

Behold the revisions! That’s where the fun started for me. Once I started the revisions, and there were many, my writing started to make sense - take shape. Even as I write this blog entry, I have a new first draft. I always have to go back and edit every single thing I write. The Novel Girls blog is no exception.

While writing the first draft of Whistlin’ Dixie In A Nor’ester, I remember longing to talk to another writer and ask the question, “Am I doing this right? It seems wrong.” Now, after getting to know other writers I can finally answer my own question. “Yes, I am. There’s no right or wrong way. It’s just the way it works for me.” Others do it differently, but like Maureen, I’m just happy to get words on paper and outline a basic plot.

I’m just beginning my second novel, those old familiar sickly feelings are returning and my new manuscript has no shape or form. But this time around I’m ready and prepared to tackle that rocky road that leads to a real novel and I know I have what it takes to buff down the bumps and warts that are now all over my WIP. I know it won’t be easy but this time next year, it will be so worth it!


Maureen Lipinski said...

I usually try to write my first drafts as fast as humanly possible (which is about two months for me) so that I don't have time to brood over all of my mistakes.

Can I just say again that I think I love revisions? Last night, I was using some handy index cards to work into my plot and totally got the tingly, "this is going to be so awesome" feelings as I looked at everything laid out in front of me.

Lesley Livingston said...

Hee! Your title reminded me of Dory in 'Finding Nemo'!

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming..."

That's really how it feels sometimes, isn't it?


Jillian Cantor said...

I have to go back and edit every single thing I write, too, Lisa. In fact, I think I've become somewhat of a compulsive reviser!!

lisapatton said...

thanks for your comments, girls. We all have something in common and I'll say it again . . . I'm so happy to have yall in my world and know I'm no longer a lone duck in this big scary world of agents, editors and book deals!

Tracy Madison said...

Maureen! I just filled out a bunch of index cards to help me sort out the end of this draft.

Great post, Lisa!