As all you regular readers know, I’m working on finishing book 2 before the end of April (when I am having a baby).  I’m finding that I’m a lot pickier doing the first draft of book 2 than I was on the first draft of book 1.  On book 1, the first draft was really really rough.  I mean no proper names, places, and most of the speech tags weren’t even there.  However, because that draft was so rough, it took a ton of revisions to get it right.  Now, with the draft of book 2, I’m trying to get a much better draft the first time.  Because of this, it’s taking longer.  I tend not to write a scene unless I have it all worked out in my head, including making sure it works with what has happened before and what I want to happen after.  This has slowed me down a lot and I’m wondering what to do.  Should I continue to do a better first draft, or should I do more of a free write like I did the first time?  On the one hand, it makes for a lot less revision work.  On the other hand, the story gets down on paper a lot quicker.

4 thoughts on “Dilemma…

  1. I suspect that no matter how carefully you write the story, there will inevitably be a lot of revising work to do. It may not be the same kind of work that you had to do for the first book, but it will be revising work nonetheless.

    But I understand your dilemma, and I’m facing a similar one of my own. I’m going to start a new novel in March, but it’s been so long since I wrote the first draft of any novel that I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to remember how I did it — and if I want to do it that way again. I used to write my first drafts in a spiral notebooks, but this time I’ll probably do all my writing on the word processor and in a blog.


  2. Hi Shari!

    I love your blog, and can relate to it because I am in the midst of writing my first draft for my first novel. I too have been plagued by the same problem; whether to just write my first draft without bothering too much about grammar, punctuation or character names, or whether to write it out more carefully. I’ve found that the wild, messy method works best for me, but it must be taken into consideration that every author is different. I’ve tried writing more carefully, but I’ve found my writing to be rather stilted when I follow this method.
    Here is an interesting article about first drafts from Writer’s Digest. I found it very helpful.
    Have a great day!


  3. Speaking as a fairly obsessive writer of novels (if not always such an obsessive sender-out of novels) I find that the writing process varies a little each time. If a slightly slower approach is what book 2 seems to want, go along with it. Writing isn’t a race.


  4. Yeah, Sheri, what’s happening. Well, I can tell you, it’s 08:07am (Saturday) in England as I’m typing and I haven’t slept since Wednesday. Yep. Been writing all through. Even missed my lectures cos of it.

    I would advise you to get your names and sort out your grammar as much as possible when writing your first draft. The reason is this: the 2nd draft of your novel should be a time when you “correct” your errors – grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, sentence structures, characterisation, add a few scenes, take a few scenes out, etc. Generally, it should be a polishing stage. If you don’t get your character names sorted now and know them and write them properly in your first draft, then you might as well be writing an outline, cos that’s what outlines are, a glance through of the story and characters – nothing deep.

    I’m 21 chapters done in my first draft. I’ve got three more to go. I’m actually writing up/polishing the outline for the last three. This outline + the well written first draft will aide me in working on my 2nd draft.

    But, hey, that’s how I work! You may find your style works better for you. Different strokes for different folks (or something like that).

    Have fun writing!


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