Progress: 73,112 words, Seven Chapters (All first or second draft)
There is very much a snowball effect happening with my writing now. When I did CampNaNo I thought going from 500 to 600 words a day was going to be a push for me. I would increase productivity and move the first draft completion date forward. Now it is not uncommon for me to put down 1000 words in each sitting.
Looking over my recent scenes I can see that this speed comes at a cost. The words are quantity over quality, but that is exactly what I should be doing for this first draft. As I get closer to the editing phase, I can appreciate how meticulously crafting each sentence is the worst thing to do for the first pass at a novel.
There are many edits made to a book. The largest revisions are going to come right away, as in deleting or rearranging big chunks of the novel. To get the arc and pacing correct, the foundations of the story, a lot of what I wrote will need to be slashed and burned. If I spent more time massaging each word at the beginning, then it will be more difficult for me to make these harsh and sweeping choices.
This first draft should be raw and quick. Get the story down, characters well established, and have a good feel for the dialogue and flow. This is very much a salad where you dump the ranch all over it, tasting nothing but ranch when you eat it. THEN you make changes, adding and taking things away. I’ll discover the juicy little tomatoes under the ranch, the blend of lettuce and spinach, the home made croutons. How did I not see the bacon bits? Maybe after enough edits I discover that it wasn’t a salad at all, and I ruined a perfectly good steak.
After all that is set, and opinion is favorable, I can return to add the finer details and really make the story beautiful and full. I can rethink every sentence and worry about a particular word and how it sounds near its companions. I can sweat over all the things that I shouldn’t have been sweating over at the beginning. I am nearing the finish line of the first draft and I feel like I’ve learned so much all ready. I can’t wait to learn even more.
Do you have a novel in the works? Are you participating in CampNaNo? I’d love to connect with you or hear about your story.
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Thanks for reading.