Friday, December 7, 2012

"How I Write" Drafting

So, I'm going to start this new little series called How I Write. My disclaimer is that this is just me telling you *my* process. It's not me telling you how you should write. In fact, I'd love to hear in the comments how you do the things I'll be talking about. Also, if you've been following my blog, you'll know this isn't going to be deep.....or organized....or probably helpful. Ha. But it sounds like fun and I love to hear how other people do things, so here it goes.

Drafting. My first drafts are what I like to call skeletal. Like really skeletal. A lot of times I'll call them my outlines because even though I don't outline, they are that bare. They are usually just a series of conversations linked together. Then I have to go back later and fill in the thoughts and the scenery and the details of the story.

When I can't think of a name for a character or a restaurant or a school, I use the letter 'X'. So when my first draft is done I have a lot of 'X's to sort out. I also like the phrase 'blah blah blah something cool happens here'. I use that a lot. My friend Candi used to make fun of me about that because sometimes she'll read my stories as I'm drafting them. One time I actually had my character say 'blah blah blah' for real. And Candi wondered what she was really going to say there. I said, "No, she's really going to say 'blah blah blah'."

For me, this type of fast drafting helps me get the whole story down in sucktastic glory without over thinking it too much. Then I go back and fill in and rearrange and add. It works for me. What about you? How do you draft?


  1. For my first draft I pretend I'm reading instead of writing, and just write what I'd like to read next. I probably over-write rather than under-write at first, leaving me lots to trim later on.

    Every writer is different, huh? I say do whatever it takes to get that first draft on paper. The important thing is give yourself something to polish.

  2. Hahaha I love the part where your character ACTUALLY said "blah blah blah". Too funny! Laughing hard over here.

    My first drafts are usually good but not quite there yet. I have to do a lot of editing (I actually talked about this over at my blog today)...and it is A LOT of editing. Because let's just say with my first book I wrote a 275 page book and I edited it half way through and got bored with world building and "rules" and explanations. (Like, why did this war happen? my friend asked... BECAUSE!!! I said. LOL!) Yeah. Let's just say I never wrote fantasy again. LOL!!!!

  3. I write skinny, but not quite as skeletal as you. My first drafts are usually a lot of dialogue and emotion and later I have to go in and add some minor scenes that make the character more likeable, etc. I usually have to add in a secondary character, especially in my YA (yes, teens are supposed to have friends, erica :) Christy and I blogged about our recent co-writing journey - a whole different process!

  4. As you know, I have only written one novel. The first draft was like 150 thousand words, so my guess is I over write. If I were a painter, I'd dump paint on a canvass and slowly erase what I don't want. Kind of sucktastic in its own glory, but I think I'll try something closer to your method next time.