June 20, 2013

Writing Tip: Let It Be Crappy, Part 2

I recently finished the first draft of my second novel, The Ones You Left Behind. I have to say there's something very thrilling about typing "The End."
Everyone has their own writing process and I'm still developing mine. I did it differently this time around. Last time I wrote and edited, wrote and edited. This time I wrote and wrote and wrote, all the way to the end. Believe me, that wasn't easy - I'm a serial editor - but here are the reasons I really liked doing it that way:

  1. I get to meet all the characters 
  2. I find out how the entire story unfolds
  3. It's easier to edit when I know what happens
  4. I know which characters are important and which ones can go
  5. Inconsistencies are more obvious
  6. It keeps me more focused on the story
  7. It helps me get to know my characters
  8. It makes me more confident about the story
  9. It gives me permission to write less than perfect prose
  10. I get to type "The End" sooner
All of this is fantastic for the revision. Basically, when I began writing this book, I knew the beginning and end of the story. I also knew the two main characters. I knew they had children but I wasn't sure how many. So what happens between the beginning and the end came as a surprise. What fun, right?
There are writers who believe in outlining in great detail but I'm not one of those. It works better for me and  feels more creative to just write. In order to work right through to the end I have to give myself permission to let it be crappy. It's not all crappy, of course, but a lot of it is. And that's okay because now I'm working on the first revision. Now is when I fix the inconsistencies, smooth out the wrinkles, add more details or take unnecessary ones out, consider my word choices, remove or add characters, fill in all the holes. The first draft is the foundation. Now I make it pretty.
How do you work? Do you outline or just let it flow?
Okay, time to get back to work now...

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