Monday 16 October 2017

Writing Numbers

Since finishing my latest first draft a few weeks ago, I've been thinking about how I work through each draft. Especially first drafts.

So I thought I'd post a bit about how I tackle these projects by allocating daily, weekly and monthly goals. I always find it easier to break things down into smaller goals to reach the big one.

Even though my process is similar every time, each project is a little different. But they all start with brainstorming an idea that's been simmering in the back of my mind for months. 

When I pick my next WIP, I grab a notebook and fill it up with pages and pages of notes. Every thought, scene and/or dialogue relating to the story goes in here. As well as character names, descriptions, traits and research. Not to mention pictures. These help me visualise the characters, locations and some of the things the characters will do and/or face. Then I start the chapter breakdowns. Sometimes I'll have loose notes for the entire book. Other times I'll only have the first 5-10 chapters.

I just fill my brain with stuff before I even begin to create the Word doc. I keep going until it feels like I'm about to burst if I don't start telling the story. LOL.

Then I grab a calendar and figure out how many actual writing days there are in my chosen month. What I mean by this is how many Mon-Fri there are, because I take weekends off. It's important for me to make sure I don't work on weekends, and instead spend time with hubby, go out, read, go for walks, and have my brain working on the story in the background. That way when Monday hits, I'm ready to go.

Usually I end up setting a 4k words/day goal. That totally works for me because I write in the morning and then in the afternoon. I like to call my sessions: before and after lunch. It's nice to break for an hour to eat and get a breather before adding more words.

Although the 4k thing totally works for me because I write fast first drafts, the projects I've tackled this year have started with 3k/day goals. That end up turning into 4k+/day when my need to get the story out becomes a word count frenzy. 

The reason for the smaller w/c goal lately is because I have a tendency to needlessly push myself, and I'm trying to stop that. If I add 4-5k on any given day, excellent. If not, as long as I have my 3k, I'm good. 

It's all about not putting too much pressure on myself. Which I always do. And strangely, the story ends up doing because everything gets so vivid that I go nuts in my quest to reach The End.

Another thing I find myself doing is reading the last chapter I wrote (the day before) to get back into the story groove and get a feel for what comes next. I usually don't look back and keep moving forward but lately, if something doesn't work or needs to be changed for better direction/plot/motivation, I don't mind backtracking. It saves time later.

The bottom line is: get the raw story out of my head and onto a Word doc as fast as I can. Thorough revision comes later.

First drafts are all about getting the story out.

When I finish the first draft I spend a bit of time updating my chapter and story notes. Plus, I get rid of all the scraps of paper and sticky notes I've accumulated.

Then I feel mentally exhausted and lost for a few days. I miss the story. I miss the process. And start a Revision List before putting it aside for a while. I make sure to take a few months away from the story and start thinking and dreaming about other ideas.

BUT first, I take a few weeks off to refuel. I read, go for walks, search for inspirational pics and watch stuff.

This part is important to avoid burning out.

After that, it's time to either start a new story or revise a first draft.

Well, there you have it. 

This is my process. What's yours?

No comments:

Favorites More