Sunday, May 10, 2009

Creating a First Draft PART I

I thought I would do a series on what I'm working on right now, a solid first draft of a novel. My current novel in first draft mode is called PROFIT. I'm 69500 words in currently, and I think I've got about 20000 to go. The journey of writing a first draft is a story about excitement, drudgery, and agony. If you plan to write a meaningful first draft expect pain, boredom, tears, and laughter. Expect some chapters to flow out smooth as butter. Others will not be right on even after 15 passes. Most of all expect the unexpected.

Let's get to it.

I'm a concrete random thinker, so I'm going to take that approach with this series. First I'm going to cover the ingredients you need to start that first draft. The stuff you've got have or this journey is really not going to work. Think about the pioneers that crossed the Oregon trail. They needed a sturdy wagon, provisions, and and replacement running gear (wheels, axles, etc.) These folks often packed stuff they didn't need and had to abandon this stuff on the way. Yep, writing a first draft is going to be like that. So hop on this wagon train and let's get to our destination.

So how I do you get this cauldron of creativity going. It all starts with ideas like "how do I feel about war", "what do I think about bioethics", "what is our plugged in society doing to itself". These are all ideas I'm exploring in PROFIT. I have to find ideas that are provocative. Ones that cause me to have great emotion. I have to want to laugh and cry about them at the same time. I also must find a character that I really want to root for. I really care about my main characters and they are close to me. I can feel their heartbeat next to mine.

I spend hours just talking about the story I'm going to write. I talk to myself when I driving the carpool. I talk to my friends and family until they are really just sick of it. After a while that story starts to make sense. It becomes interesting. I dig deep into my southern roots. I build an oral story just like the ones I heard when I was growing up. Click on this link if you want a detailed plan on how to create an oral story.

Once I have that oral story, my main character and basic plot idea are in place. The oral story is between 5 and 20 minutes long. It's now time for one of my first writing steps on my novel writing journey. I write down my oral story. This document might be page or it might be 30 pages. I'm not ready to write the book yet, but I've got to have this "provision" to move forward.

I hope this has given you something to think about. I will be back next week with more of the journey next week.

Today's playlist hit is "When the pain dies down" by Chris Stills.

My quote for the week,

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain. Jim Morrison.


holly cupala said...

Very cool topic, Molly. I have very much enjoyed hearing PROFIT. It's going to be a hit someday! I look forward to the rest of the series, though I'll put my request in now...won't you write a blog series about second drafts? Please??

Vijaya said...

Hold it Holly ... this is just what I need to read right now :)

Molly, I always tell the story to myself too, so let's hope I can finish this draft before it finishes me.

Thank you.

Janet Lee Carey said...

Love stopping by for today's wisdom, Molly -- as one pioneer to another -- here's to not getting stuck on the pass!


MollyMom103 said...

Yes, Holly, I'm going to do a whole series on second drafts. I promise after first drafts.

Hey Vijaya, I've got lots more to come. Yay for story-tellers.

Janet, I will cover how to avoid getting stuck in the pass. I will also cover what to do if you get stuck.