Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Considering that First Draft of that NaNo Novel

I was over at Ana Mardoll's "Ramblings" blog and spotted this post, with a pie chart describing the first draft of a novel.  The pie chart is from Finding Wonderland, and it shows a humorous breakdown of what a first draft of a novel might look like.  Ana Mardoll uses the plot to illustrate the importance of rewriting that first draft.

It was inspiring.  I am definitely in the write-rewrite-iterate camp of writers.  Edits and rewrites are what make musings turn into masterpieces (more or less).  Anyway, I took out my draft of my NaNoWriMo novel and paged through, looking for what *my* first drafts seem to include.  Being a scientist with data in hand, I had to plot it up of course, with many thanks to the inspiring influences:

My version of a plot inspired by Finding Wonderland and Ana Mardoll - It shows the general contents of the first
draft of my NaNoWriMo novel.  It is surprising how my first drafts all seem to look pretty much like this.

The first half of chapter one turns out to be all completely unnecessary conversations between characters talking about their lives and stuff.  I thought it made good sense when writing, and now I see I can just jump right in to the action and really not lose anything at all.

Also fun to note is that I have far too many homages to various pop culture icons and works, such as the Hitchhiker's Guide, MST3K, Star Wars, and even the Simpsons.  I really want to keep them, which is something of an indication of their need to go.

And wow, there are a lot of holes here.  Especially the times I say "We'll have that discussion with so-and-so soon" and either the discussion never happens, or so-and-so does not actually exist in the book.  Or both.  I also see that I get through my initial draft writing by just jumping past anything that stumps me.  Say like important connecting scenes.  Or the names of anything at all.

Of course keep in mind this is a NaNo draft, which means one is trying to write like crazy to get those 50K words by the end of the month and still have time to cook and eat a Thanksgiving turkey.  So leaving gaps behind is a very functional strategy - for a draft.

And the sex scenes, well, most of them are actually plot critical.  So I guess I'll just have to make sure I send them to a publisher that likes that kind of thing.

In the end, I'd say about 50% of what is here is workable, and the other half just needs to get thrown out.  My challenge is figuring out which half is which ...

Image Credit:  My pie chart of my novel data.  Inspired by Finding Wonderland via Ana Mardoll.

1 comment:

Anna said...

This is interesting to read and feels familiar. Never won nano or finished a draft, but the things you mention...well...I can see them in the stuff I write myself. Before I would feel bad about the stuff I wrote, because being the perfectionist that I am, I hated it, but after reading this I am glad I'm not the only one with a draft (or part of a draft) like this.