Thoughts from the Writing Trenches – VIII

Robin singing on a tree branch, March 20-2017 - bruce witzel photo

First draft progress – 149,000 words. I’m singing like that robin on a pear tree branch! There is something satisfying about a rising word count – even knowing many will be cut or reworked. In grad school, I had a supervisor who always told me – better to have too much material than not enough. Yo, that!

I’ve abandoned any attempts to follow a linear structure. Key climax scenes are all earmarked to be done last. Today, I took one story thread that involves three characters and followed it scene by scene to the end of the book. I suspect there will be more of that strategy as I push to the finish line.

A past instalment of this series generated an interesting question from Jane Tims over on Niche Poetry and Prose  – do I edit as I go?

Simple answer is yes. More complicated answer – it certainly doesn’t eliminate the need for a thorough edit later. Editing occurs for me at all stages. In this first draft stage, I’ve been using the evenings to read through what I’ve written that day and clean up the obvious mistakes – typos and weird wording. Whenever I need a break from moving the word count up, I’ve been putting the work, section by section, through a new tool I’m trying out – ProWritingAid. I often send my current copy of the manuscript to my Kindle by email so I can read key sections over before going to sleep.

As you can imagine, all these steps keep the work uppermost in my mind. Jane and I are curious – how do others handle editing in the first draft process? Let us know.

I’m leaving you today with this lovely spring photo. It tells me time is moving on. I’ve got to finish this first draft before it cuts into my wandering in the garden time.

Crocuses (backlit5) March 20, 0217 - bruce witzel photo

5 comments on “Thoughts from the Writing Trenches – VIII

  1. TamrahJo says:

    I edit as I go, on first draft – touch again as I revisit – and either the story holds my interest, and gains further edits or sit’s languishing in folder for edits 20 years from now when I decide I just came full circle back to that original thought – – LOL – BUT, I have not published a single thing, yet – and so, who cares other than, “How Not To…” perspective – – LOL

    • I think you have a point on the interest part – we better be vitally interested or we won’t interest anyone else 🙂 But seriously, I just don’t think there is a right way to do this stuff. Thanks for adding another perspective.

      • TamrahJo says:

        Lol. Agreed! So often in our writers group, the ending consensus is, “We shared about 16 eays to get from point A to B… try em out, see which one works best for you!

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Have bookmarked ProWritingAid, might give it a whirl once I have some new material 🙂

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