Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Romancing the First Draft

Depending on how we all write, of course, and each of us is so different, but the first draft for me is a relief. Not to say in the process, it doesn't present challenges. As Carol said in a previous blog, sometimes the halfway mark means scaling a wall but about then it's more like perseverance.

There are lots of moments during that first draft. Early on in my current romance, it was getting interrupted. There just seemed to be so many things happening, phone calls, LIFE happening, etc. but I pushed on through, somehow put my writing first and kept up with my daily allotted output, and it all began to flow and slot into pace.

Most days I write my minimum quota, always aiming for more. But there are other days when some more research needs to be done even though, knowing your plot and topics that will crop up, you may have done much of this beforehand. Clearly I was away with the fairies recently for I had my hero's mother losing her fiance in World War 2. Duh! She would have been nearly 90 and the hero only 30 years younger. Bit old for a romantic hero! So I had to toss all that lovely research re grave sites in Indonesia for that era and re-think, realising the Vietnam war was my only option for the 1970s.

My first draft is often done by longhand on an A4 lined notepad for I find the slower pace of handwriting keeps up better with my steady creative thoughts and words. Sometimes they gush out and I write madly until my hand aches but it's all in a good cause. Getting those words down. For this current project, I've forced myself to list scenes and notes onto the computer and work from there. It's certainly quicker but if I hit a slow or dead spot - not sure how to proceed with the next scene etc. - then I will transfer to handwriting again and the words just come.

When I'm handwriting I become quite familiar with whiteout tape! I hate seeing all those scribbles and changes on the page so I blot them out and it's so much easier to read when it comes to me typing it all up into the computer. My current pen of choice is a Bic Pro. It's a 1.0 thickness and has a really smooth flow.
Of course, no matter how well the writing is or isn't going, there are always distractions. It's spring here in Australia and while it comes with the usual unsettled weather - warm and sunny one day, chilly and showery the next - those warmer days are such a temptation to be outdoors after winter. I'm half done on this current novel and hoping to keep going with it while I am in tropical Brisbane for the next few weeks for the birth of my latest grandson. Happy first draft writing everyone.


  1. It's good to know I'm not the only one, Noelene, who gets the lined A4 pad out to hand write that first draft. There's a connection between the brain and the pen and paper that just somehow seems to work.

    I try to set aside time at the end of each writing session to commit that day's output to my computer (where it gets its first light edit) If I didn't do this I wouldn't be able to make any sense of my terrible scribblings.

    Have a wonderful family time in Brisbane, Noelene...and lots of hugs to that new grandson when he arrives.

    Rena x

    1. Here here! Enjoy thos eprecious times.
      My friends live in Brizzy too so I also know how the weather shapes up there!
      I always write on the computer ... a few scribbled notes on oost-it pads help keep me on course. (eye and har colours, cars, etc.) I think me and my compuer work together happily and no scribbles to correct! To each his or her own!
      Love Chrissie

    2. Baby Madden arrived on 21st October, 8lb and hugely content. Before I left, he gave me his first smiles. Am home again now and back into my writing routine.

  2. I am always impressed by people who handwrite their first drafts. I can never write quickly enough when the first flow is going so I always type it out. I have found if I handwrite a draft when it comes to typing it out, I always change it anyway so I might as well type it in the first place. Plus I have terrible handwriting even I find difficult to decipher. I think it's because in my youth I learned shorthand so I always want to write quickly, hence the scrawl.

    Funny how we all have our different methods isn't it? I just plough on for the first draft like Noelene and eventually you get there. Then the real fun starts as you edit.


    1. Margaret, it's so true that we all have our own way of working. My writing is still legible :) but I'm trying to convert to mostly typing directly onto the computer. Much quicker and saves that extra typing stage.

  3. Using a pen and paper definitely slows things down which can be a benefit at times, but thank goodness for the helpful features of a computer! We find writing the first draft more exciting and interesting than editing. As has been said before we're all different.

  4. I always wrote in pencil - 500K a year - until my shoulder gave up and I was forced to use Dragon all the time and not just to read on the longhand. I still find typing instead of talking helps me over a stuck patch.

  5. I used to write everything in longhand but now find I can type faster than I can handwrite. The only thing I do find is that it's impossible to proof read off the screen. I have to print everything out, make the amendments by hand and then type them in. One's brain works in very mysterious ways!