Despite having first-drafted around ten novels, the majority of them have been left to moulder instead of being edited. I find first-drafting hard. Sometimes I hate it. It used to be my favourite bit, and when I got to the end, I was tired of the book and didn’t want to edit. Now, I see first drafts as something to be got through, so that I can rewrite.
The few of you that have read my early posts on this blog will know that I used to hate editing. And there are still times when I want to cry because a scene has to be rewritten in a way that’s not only difficult, but will also result in one of my favourite lines being cut. I’ve learned to get over that, though. Back then I thought that editing was boring and had none of the random plot twists that happen in first drafts.
Really, young!Miriam, really? Clearly I wasn’t rewriting very effectively!
When I redrafted my novel Returning, it went from 83k to 112k. I had subplots from the first two books to round up, but I also had characters who came out of the woodwork and stole the limelight. It was awesome. The second draft was great fun.
However, I’m first-drafting at the moment, and while it has some good moments (for example, discovering that Georgina was a badass Cockney street fighter rather than an unimportant minor character), I’m also finding it difficult. Some days I struggle to hit my wordcount, even when other days find me flying over the top of that target as though in a rocket. Some days I’m convinced everything I’ve written is useless and am afraid of sending it to Charley, who is reading this novel in segments whenever I finish a section and force her to look at it for me.
Thus, while stuck in a pit of writer’s block (which is not a thing dammit Miriam do not let yourself be fooled into thinking that’s a thing) and insecurity about my writing, I made a game: Insecure Writer Bingo.
Obviously, people’s individual worries vary, so it won’t work for everyone, not least because I made it in about five minutes flat and probably could have put a little more thought into it. But, to illustrate my point that sometimes first drafts make me want to cry, I have a nice graphic for you.
Feel free to utilise it at NaNoWriMo write-ins or critique group meetings.
When you get ‘Bingo’, click here for the antidote. (Note: you’ll need speakers/headphones, i.e. some way of playing sound, as it’s an audio post.)