And I’m not talking about fireworks.
I’m talking about my new work in progress, provisionally titled “Broadlands.”
I’m up to 18’000 words now, which means, based on a target word count of 90’000 words, I’m coming up to the quarter mark in the story.
The first 17’000 words were quite tough. I knew what had to happen, but there were a lot of false starts, a lot of writing parts only to delete them and then rewrite that section.
Common writing advice when it comes to first drafts is to get the whole thing down as quickly as possible, to resist the urge to tinker as you go.
The reasoning for this is that if you tinker too much, you may never actually finish the story.
That’s also one of the reasons why having an outline is recommended. An outline stops you from going too far off piste, and gives you a framework around which to costruct your story.
I had, if not an outline, at least a plan for Broadlands.
That plan didn’t survive first contact with the characters.
In all honesty, none of my plans ever do.
The reason for this is because once I start writing and the characters start coming to life, it’s their actions and reactions that dictate how the story unfolds.
In short, they expose all the plot holes in the outline.
When this happens, as a writer you have two choices; plough on regardless, or go back and fill the holes.
I choose to go back and fill the holes.
Because if I plough on regardless, when it comes to draft two, I’m working with an inconsistent story that has more holes than Manchester United’s defence (sorry Red Devils fans!).
At the end of it all, this is still draft one, and I already know that, come draft two, large chunks will have to be rewritten.
But draft one, for me, is about getting the framework of the story 90% correct so I know what to change and rewrite in draft two.
That’s not to say this is the best way of doing things or the right way. It’s just the way that works for me.
There is a risk that by tinkering you end up constantly rewriting one part and never finishing.
The trick with this is to be disciplined. Only change what needs to be changed to make what follows logical and in character/situation.
It’s not the time to worry about description or prose or mood. That’s for later drafts.
As a result of my tinkering, my characters came to life in the last writing session.
For the first time on this project I was able to get down over 2000 words in one day.
And everything is set up for the first big turning point at the quarter way mark.
Finally, after four weeks of work on Broadlands, sparks are definitely flying.
Have a great Sunday!!