Months in Progress: 5
Word Count: 70K-ish
Estimated Final Word Count:
120K 130K (ish)
Named Characters: 5
State-of-Mind: Do I have to? But it’s booooring. Fine.
Currently Researching: N/A
Number of references photos on my Pinterest:
84 194 228
Currently, yelling at myself: Was it so hard to get it right the first time?
Currently yelling at the story: I’m taking out the editing chainsaw now; if you don’t behave, I’m deleting you—all of you.
Things I’m obsessing over: N/A.
Reference photos I’m obsessing over: N/A.
So, I’m roughly 70K into the story, and last night I finished writing the last chapter in the mid-story conflict. At this point, I like to go back and do a first rough edit of the story.
A quick side note: when I describe my writing process, take everything I say with a grain of salt; things are not set in stone. I learn something new with every story I write—this is how I do things now, on this story.
Anyway, the edit—I call it my 1.5 draft. It’s not a new draft in the sense that I do a deep dive into the characters or the writing.
(Ahem, that’s the general idea; in reality I often end-up making extensive edits and rewriting large parts of the story.)
I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t plan out my story before I write it; I have a vague idea when I start, and then I just write and discover the story and the characters along the way.
This works for me; giving myself free reigns helps me become connected to my characters, they grow and deepen before my eyes, and I don’t have any preconceived notions of who they are.
The downside of this approach is that, what felt like a great idea or good character development in chapter 3, is completely out of character once I reach chapter 15.
Draft 1.5 is where I go back and fix all the inconsistencies and get the details right. It’s where I get the basic outline of the characters and their personalities in place.
By this point, I know the characters, who they were, are, and where they’re going.
I also have a good grasp of the plot; I don’t have all the coming chapters mapped out, but I know the major reveals, the twists, and the ending—I know where I’m going.
I do this edit, so I can go into the second half of the story with a clear picture and not have five versions of the same character/scene/house in my head at the same time.
It’s a mental palet cleanse; if you’re a Marvel fan, think of it as me pruning the variants and establishing a sacred timeline.
(That’s what is should call it; The Sacred Timeline Draft sound so much cooler that Draft 1.5)
I don’t like to go back in the text and edit while I write, it kills the momentum, and I get stuck; that’s why I don’t go back until I’ve finished writing the mid-story conflict.
So, I’ll often go back in the text and leave little notes of things I need to fix or scenes I want to add or take out in the next draft. At this stage, , my beta, will also have gone though the rough text and left me notes and comments.
Apart from getting the characters straightened out, this is the point where I get down and dirty with timelines, maps, and floorplans.
This is a timeline I wrote for Newport to help me keep things in order.
Some of you might notice that it’s not accurate; the timeline was written for an earlier draft of the story, and I never updated it.
I also like to use floorplans and maps to help me visualize and keep track of the space and environment my characters move around in.
I use them to help me answer questions like,
* Does my character turn left or right when they leave the kitchen to go to their bedroom? What about the other bedroom, which way is that?
* Exactly how many windows are there in this house, and can my character look out of them as often as he does? Can he actually see those things from the window?
* Where is the car parked, and how long does it take to get there?
This doesn’t mean I’ll have everything figured out once I’ve done this edit. I don’t. At all.
The text will change dramatically as I continue the process. But, by doing this, I’ll have somewhat of a consistent foundation as I move into the second part of the story.
When it’s finished and I have a complete first draft, I’ll repeat this process with the second part before going into the second draft.
I have a love/hate relationship with editing; I love seeing the text change and grow, it’s also tedious (but neccessary) to rework the same piece of text over and over.
This is the first edit in Santa Paula, so my attitude is still fairly positive; when we get to draft 5, I’m probably not going to be quite so cheerful.
But that’s for another update, far down the road.
To Be Continued…
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