Finishing the First Draft

Posted on 25/01/2013 by


Me: It’s the second day in a row I’ve only been able to squeeze a couple of good writing hours around ow ow my head ow ow. It’s pretty fucking annoying.
Rick: Snorts.
Me: Are you laughing at me?
Rick: You don’t swear often.
Me: Well it’s really unfortunate.

I’m getting pretty close to finished Wizards. I only have two sections left to write of the first draft — where two sections equals somewhere between ten and twenty thousand words, and who knows how many scenes.

There are no real chapters in this book. It’s just scene after scene. So I say, “I’ve written a new chapter” but that just means, “I have written a couple of scenes, or a group of scenes that is somewhere between 3000 and 5000 words. Except where it isn’t.”

All I really know is what’s left of the story and that I’m about sixty thousand words into this draft and I want the book to be about eighty thousand.

I think this first draft will probably come in around seventy, and then the last ten thousand will appear in the next.

Stephen King is famous for saying a second draft is your first draft minus ten percent, but I tend to go the other way. My first draft is bones and I build up from there. I have in the past veritably doubled the word count of a chapter in doing a second draft.

Then I start up with the carving knife.

I’m not expecting Wizards to grow all that much though. One of the charms of writing linearly has been a more fleshed out first draft, which is taking longer, but is also more solid.

Which is good. Great even. Except maybe for the ‘longer’ part and the ‘almost’ in the ‘I’ve almost finished the first draft’. So I’m thinking April. Because that is far, far away, and ridiculously too much time, and will therefore turn out to be only barely reasonable and we will all look away politely when it turns out that the plan I’ve just outlined is totally unreasonable and I accidentally went and wrote another book in March. Because sometimes that happens. Hush. It does. I mean, look, a wombat!

Well... it's a wombat. Sitting in some bush somewhere. Wombats are cute, fuzzy little marsupials that can be a lot meaner than they look. You should totally read about them. Fun! Also '"Diary of a Wombat" by Jackie French is a great book.