Wednesday, June 08, 2011

WRITER WEDNESDAY: Fast drafting your first draft?

I used to be such a different writer. Funny kind of oxymoron to say I've grown up as a writer when I turned to writing for teens. *snort* I used to write by the seat of my pants, very little outline to go by, and then revise and edit, and then pants write some more and then revise and edit. People used to say I had such clean, publish-ready first drafts. Of course they were clean. I'd spun my wheels so much going nowhere fast in those pages I'd whipped all the mud off.

Then I decided I wanted to make a real go of writing, and learned to pitch a project to agents or editors you had to have a synopsis and an outline. They had to know where you were going with your story or they wouldn't be interested. So, I tightened my writing pants and started working from outlines from which I could make a synopsis.

This past year I've lucked into my Critque Group. (Shout out to the Army!! They know who they are) They're brilliant, creative, talented writers. Also fast-drafters for the most part, and I had to go from snug-fitting writer pants to damn near writer skinny jeans--I had to adjust to keep up. Which has been the most painful part of my writing maturation. Giving up that write/edit, write/edit cycle is still hard, it's a battle I fight with every day. Now I make notes in a skeleton outline of stuff I need to go back and fix during revisions instead of wading through 200 pages to tinker now.

And that's probably the best part about fast-drafting. The word/page count. What was an idea back in the end days of April is now nearly complete. I have five plot points to go before typing THE END.

So, how do you do it? Pantser, discovery writer? Plotter? Do you write/revise/edit/repeat, or do you fast draft then revise?


  1. I WISH I could write a fast first draft, but it takes me SO LONG to get the words out. I much prefer the revision process. :)

  2. It seems the only way I can finish writing a book is to fast draft it. Otherwise, stuff/life/deadlines impede and I have to walk away from the story. Once that happens, it's nearly impossible for me to get back!

    That being said, I'm a plotter. I always have at least a rough outline of scenes ready on note cards when I start fast drafting! My one and only attempt to pants a book ended in a story I'll have to totally rewrite if I ever want my agent to see it! SO not worth the extra time!

  3. I combine a few things along the way. I start with an outline and then deviate from it, and then try to plot out each chapter ahead of time. Lol my characters take the story into different directions.

  4. i start out with an outline and stick to it for the first half of the story then my characters take over and I totally disregard the outline. But do agents need an outline? If so, I'm in trouble. I don't complete my outlines.


  5. I write-revise-edit as I go instead of waiting and doing it all at the end. But who knows? I'm all for new adventures. Maybe I'll try the fast drafting at some point!

  6. My first novel was a fast draft which I still need to get back to it at some point and write/revise/edit, but it was important I let those folks rest in a drawer for a while in order to clear my mind.
    My current W.I.P however is going a little slower, I write/revise/edit/repeat and I find it extremely impossible to move on with the story.I am a pantser so it`s really important to keep writing because if I stop to write/revise/edit/repea it throws me off.

  7. Great post! Sounds like you've found a method that works for you, and a critique group that helps. =)

    I tend to fast draft during NaNoWriMo (duh) and do a combination of fast drafing and write/revise/edit/repeat the rest of the year. It works!

    Happy writing...

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

  8. I'm a total plotter, and I find that I can draft much faster if I've got an outline to follow.

    Yay! So excited that you're almost done with WIP already... you're flying!

  9. Yeah, so once again, I learned a ton from sitting at your knee and hearing your experience. Hearts....thank you.

  10. I hate writing, no really I do. I hate trying to drag myself to the keyboard and actually force myself to try and write those pesky stories cluttering up my brain. I'd rather do something else like watch rubbish on the television, do the dishes, or just watch the world pass me by. So, it looks like fast drafting is the way for me to go I think. I've bought a laptop, I've installed Linux Operating system on it so I can't play loads of Windows games, I've installed Abiword on it because I like using Abiword, and I've given myself a starting date of September 12th. So I have no excuse at all. I get home for just after 6pm. It'll be a couple hours before anyone else gets home so I can write/type for a couple hours at least.

    Now, I'm not the fastest typist in the world, but my two finger typing is the stuff of legends, so that'll do me fine. And that story I've got messing my head up needs to either be told to someone or put down on paper, so paper it is. Otherwise people will think I'm crazy, and I don't have enough cats for that label.

    So, September 12th. just after I get home after 6pm, with a nice cup of tea, and away I go. If I do well I am hoping to have about 5000 words typed that day, and the same tomorrow, and the day after that etc. About 75000 should do it for a roughly 300 page first novel. And if I succeed, then I will be the happiest bunny ever. Plus I get to brag when my book is published, but thats for another day I think.


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