Monday, February 06, 2006

First Draft in 30 Days

One of the most common questions I get from the curious is: "Do you outline before you start a novel, or do you write by the seat of your pants?"

The answer, like the answer to so many other questions asked of me ("Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?" "Are you right-brained or left-brained?" "Do you think the Steelers deserved to win the Super Bowl or do you think the refs handed it to them?") is


I usually begin with a rough outline--selling a project on proposal requires it--in which I lay out the basic story arc. Then I jump in with both feet and start writing the first draft.

However, somewhere in the dreaded middle of the book I start to wonder: what comes next? I look ahead at the big scene at the end of Act 2 and think, how do I get there? Days if not weeks have been wasted in this abyss.

My goal for the next decade is to write two excellent books per year. Not one excellent book. Not two good-enough-to-be-published books.

Unfortunately, a glance at a calendar tells me that 2006 and its successors still only contain twelve months, despite my petition to add an extra one in between May and June (Vote for your favorite: "Chocolary" or "Cheesetember").

My dilemma: how to fit several drafts of two novels into these puny excuses for a year? I can't write much faster (8-10 pages/day) without sacrificing quality and therefore adding drafts, so the solution is to write fewer drafts.

Enter Karen Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days, a method that will help me produce a solid, detailed outline of my second Luna book, Voice of Crow, in roughly a month. Theoretically, this outline will result in a first full draft that will need fewer revisions, thus cutting the time from first thought to manuscript delivery by a significant percentage.

To keep myself dedicated to the process, I'll be blogging it daily (more or less). Keep an eye out for posts marked "FD30 - Day X".

In the interests of science and helping other writers interested in this method, I promise to A) make a good-faith effort to follow the process as outlined in Wiesner's book, and B) be honest about how well it works or doesn't work for me.

Today is Day One. Tune in later to see how it goes.



So, um... squeezing a draft into 30 days doesn't leave much time for blogging, I take it.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 2/09/2006 2:35 PM

So, um...actually, Rob, the plan was to blog every day on this topic, then I got sidetracked in doing final edits for Eyes of Crow, which are due back to my editor next week.

You want a quick & dirty blog post? Comin' atcha, baby.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 2/09/2006 7:02 PM


Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 2/09/2006 8:24 PM

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