This evening I finished the first draft of my first story for 2012. I started the story on December 28, while on vacation in Florida. After work today, I got in my 500 words. Then Kelly took the kids to Gymboree this evening which freed up some time for me. I figured I’d take advantage of the momentum I had and I ended up finishing the first draft. The draft came in at 6,500 words. I managed over 2,300 words today alone.
The story still needs a lot of work, but the most difficult part is done. First drafts are always the most difficult part because I struggle with my “second draft voice”–something I’ll discuss in a subsequent post. My favorite part of writing is the second draft. With the first draft done, you have a rough idea of the entire story. You know everything there is to know that’s is important to the story. In the second draft, you can cut away the dead and repetitive stuff, and start tying things together, adding things early on that foreshadow things later, cleaning stuff up, fix the pacing, all of that. I love that part of writing.
This is the first significant story that I’ve written since late last year and in its own way, it marks my emergence from a writing slump. I’ve written two or three other stories in this period but there were all very short, less than 2,000 words each, and often targeted. It’s not that I didn’t put an effort into those stories, but I look at them as bunt attempts–an easy way to get on base when other things aren’t working well.
The story that I finished tonight will be, I think, I very good science fiction story. It grew darker than I’d wanted, but I think I pulled off the desired effect in the end. As I said on Twitter, I think I greased the landing.
Now that the draft is done, my daily process changes slightly. In an ideal world, I write new fiction (my 500 words/day) in the early morning. The evenings are for second drafts. That means that tomorrow morning, I expect to produce 500 words on a new story. And I know just which story that will be, and thankfully, I’m eager to start on it. I’m toying with the idea of setting aside the story I just finished for a week or so, and starting the second draft next week. We’ll see if I can really hold out that long.
Going forward, therefore, my writing day is broken into two parts: the first part is writing new fiction. The second is working on second draft material. If I’m successful in my 500 words/day venture, then I’d expect to be in dual-mode days here on out.
When I finished the story tonight, I celebrated with a beer. Here I am, celebrating: