Here’s a casual writing update, since I was thinking about it.
I thought I was on draft number seven of my latest WIP, April Showers 1921. After yesterday’s writing session, though, I was going through old docs while closing down – browsing the past, if you will – when I realized, wow, this is actually the tenth draft, if you include three false starts.
As I walked yesterday, I looked back on the process of writing this novel. I’d say that the first five or six drafts were about exploring and gasping the concept, characters, and story. A sprawling story, grasping all of its elements and ramifications was difficult. It reminded me of attempting to tell about World War II. So much happened and impacted on other areas, but things needed to be sorted and put into some order that could be followed.
I’d been free-flowing, writing like crazy, with those early drafts, leaping into different aspects of the story, exploring and expanding scenes and anecdotes, hunting for the handle on the characters and relationships. From that came the sense of the story arc, the concept’s fullness, the characters’ complexities, and the beginning and ending.
Each draft was being organized around what had been previously written. The chapters would be cut and slashed, re-written and re-arranged as needed to fit my evolving understanding. Then more was written to expand scenes. Everything was shifted as required to address pacing and coherency.
With the next draft, number seven (or ten, as I see it now) which is the current draft, it finally felt that I was fully in tune with what’s going on. I’ve been rocketing through it. Most of the writing sessions are not long, but intense and explosive. Progress has been strong. As with most of my writing process, regardless of their purpose, my mind continues working on it no matter what I’m doing. It’s not unusual to have an epiphany in a grocery store or while driving the car. Most often, though, as I walk away from the writing day, the muses carry inertia forward, delivering more material for the next day.
It’s fun writing like this, learning the story, telling the story, and feeling it opening up, expanding to include more while contracting to deliver more impact.
Okay, got my coffee, and ass in chair. Time to write like crazy again, at least one more time.