Fast Draft Discoveries

Posted By on May 16, 2012

For the second day, I’ve made my goal of 20 pages in Candace Havens’ Fast Draft class. Yay! that’s 8,768 words I didn’t have before I started this slightly crazy experiment.

Thing is, I don’t think it will be an experiment after this for me. I don’t know that I’ll write every book at 20 pages/day for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned some things.

First:  I am one scared writer. Seriously. Monday, the first day of class, I stared at quite a bit of blank screen, for long periods of time, and I was baffled.

I thought I was baffled.

I was just really scared. I want to succeed with this new book. I want it to be emotional and engaging. I want readers to love the characters as much as I do, and I want that all important sigh at the end, because Keir and Elle have reached their happily ever after, but also because it’s over. Those are the best romances. Those are the ones I love to read most, and they’re definitely the ones I strive to write.

It’s hard to write engaging, emotional, ahhhhh when you’re scared. But fortunately, it’s hard to be poleaxed by terror when you’ve committed to producing 20 pages in a day. Mind you, we’re supposed to assume that some of those 20 pages are crap, but I don’t want to write crap, so I’m trying to do my best work even as I fly through the words. It’s a conundrum.

Second discovery: This one comes to you courtesy of my beloved CP and bestie, Karen Whiddon. (Oh, wait. She also talked me off the ledge of terror, too.) We were talking about wasting time. I agreed that email, Twitter, and games can be a waste of time, but tonight, when I was adding my totals, I really saw–I waste a lot of time. There oughta be a law! I hope I’m learning something from all this. (I have a hard head. Sometimes it takes an anvil!)

Third discovery: This one’s huge. Massive. Life-freaking-changing. I’m serious.

Today, some of the writers were talking about feeling exactly the way I did yesterday, and Candy offered us advice. Not to think, but to write. We’ll put in the turning points naturally if we just let go of all the obstacles and write. Again, I nodded to myself.

Again, as I was counting totals, I realized I’m almost finished with Chapter Four.

I hate Chapter Fours. They’re almost worse than beginnings for me because they’re a whole new beginning. They require a sea change in the characters’ plans. They start the real crisis (vs. what the characters think they need) that is going to divide my hero and heroine, and they foreshadow the changes the hero and heroine are going to face if they want to be together. (Happily ever after. Sigh. I want that sigh.)

I have been felled by Chapter Fours, as if I were running straight into a titanium wall.

Today, I wrote right through Chapter Four, and the changes are there. They’re better and stronger and fresher than I thought they’d be. I didn’t plan to change my plan. I was a little sorry it was changing on me, and then I realized, the change was more fun to read.

If I end up editing 14 days’ worth of drivel in 20-page increments, this discovery alone makes it all worth while.

I once worked for a corporation that required us to post our “key learnings” after we completed each project.

Key Learning: Stop over-thinking. Write.

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2 Responses to “Fast Draft Discoveries”

  1. Ryan King says:

    I’m glad her advice is helping you. So far it’s not clicking with me. I can’t seem to turn off that darn IE. I’ve tried everything she’s suggested and that IE will NOT go away. 🙁 I really really really wanted this to work.

  2. admin says:

    Ryan, don’t give up! As happy as I am, I’m not finding it easy. I’m scared to open the file! But I wonder if you share a problem I have. My head is just full of stuff buzzing around–edits, ideas, what’s the weather like, errands I should be doing…. Try putting on some music (in headphones, so you have to listen). Sometimes, I need enough noise to drown out all the other stuff. It seems to make me focus. Honestly, the only trick to it is opening that file and writing. And writing. And not caring that you’re going to have to edit like crazy, but you’re going to do that later. I’m finding I can’t so much shut out all that other stuff as drown it in louder noise. (Of course, don’t deafen yourself!) 😉 But don’t give up!

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