03 August 2009

First Draft Twitters

In my Twitter today I chose the wrong words.

To be sure there is absolutely no confusion = when I say "Keep going back to the key scenes", I do NOT mean go back to rewrite the key scenes. NEVER GO BACK AND REWRITE YOUR FIRST DRAFT UNTIL YOU WRITE ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO THE END. (I apologize for the caps -- my zeal to make my point sort of looks like I'm yelling. Not my intention. I apologize.)

What I meant to Twitter (or is it Tweet??), is that as you make your way through your first draft keep referring to the key scenes. Create a pre-plot visual with the loose ideas you have for the end of the Beginning scene (1/4 mark), the halfway point scene (1/2 mark), the Crisis scene (3/4 mark), the Climax scene (chapter or scene before the last one).

A pre-plotted visual aid like a Plot Planner can serve as your beacon. Put the visual up on your computer so you see it at all times.

Things will get choppy. If not before, then for sure somewhere in the middle of the Middle (1/2). Listen for the fog horn when overtaken by gloom and doom. Hug the coast and keep your eye on the light when the storms hit. You can survive this, I promise.

First draft is the generative draft. There is something truly magical about watching the words fill a page, a scene, a chapter, the book = watching something come out of nothing but a hit of inspiration.

We muck it up by trying to control the uncontrollable.

The first draft is often filled with angst and uncertainty, loneliness and insecurity. It doesn't have to be. Keep your head down and keep faith in yourself and the creative process, and keep writing.

When doubts send you sprialing off track, keep coming back to the key scenes. Write your way toward them one by one. Your job now is to get the inspiration down on paper. There will be plenty of time for fear and doubt later. Wait until you read the first draft for the first time. Moments of brilliance drown in the "vomit". Uncertainty and angst are sure to strike again.

About the loneliness, heck, a writer's life is lonely, but only so long as we look outside ourselves and beyond the inspiration for validation.

One thing I can promise you if you sign up for this writers life for real... Your life will be fraught with uncertainty and angst so long as you attach yourself to the process. Separate yourself / your ego from your task and you'll be fine. Trust the process. Magic happens.