It has been many long months since I have started a brand new draft with only endless brainwaves to sift through and get onto paper. Why is writing still this hard?!
Alright, alright, I’ll admit — I definitely did not expect NaNo to be a cakewalk just because I won last year. But sitting down to write every day after work has definitely been a change of pace. That’s my fault. I wanted to give myself a break after sending off the manuscript for The Warden of Everfeld: Memento. Aside from a still-unpublished short story I wrote in August and a slight increase in my RSPC posts, I haven’t done a whole lot of solid writing. I mean the sit-in-one-spot and pound out 3,000 words kind of writing… that hasn’t happened yet.
It mostly hasn’t happened because I’ve gotten myself stuck on multiple occasions already, over-thinking the placement of a sentence or the ordering of my exposition. I think I’ve covered this before, but I tend to focus too much on writing the best sentences first — I have the best sentences. I need to let go of my inner editor and write with a little more reckless abandon. But I think I’ve figured out how to do that.
I’ve certainly read about other writers preparing their “discovery drafts” when they start a novel. Discovery drafts are the polite name for a complete pantser draft, plowing ahead through the story with little regard for plotting or style. It’s a great way to just get your ideas on paper, which is sort of the point of NaNo.
Well, I’ve decided that every time I get stuck on a thought mid-typing, I’ll just put it in a bullet note or brackets and keep moving to the next section. I cannot understate how much willpower this will take, but I have a nasty habit of going back to fine-tune my writing anyway.
This system of note-taking as I write will allow me to narrate my own train of thought (which I do anyway… wait, I’m doing it now!) and potentially brainstorm underdeveloped ideas while keeping my fingers moving.
Is this what discovery drafting is supposed to be? I may have just made that up, but it works for me.
I am happy to say that I have pushed out 4,006 words over three consecutive days of writing for The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. That’s pretty good considering the laziness I faced starting out, but it’s still behind NaNo’s three-day pace of 5,001 words. I’m just happy I wrote for three solid days.
Unfortunately, my current streak will end at three. This evening I will be headed up to the mountains with Future Wife and two close friends for a weekend of college football and beer consumption — can’t wait! But that also means I likely won’t touch my draft again until Saturday morning (if I’m lucky) or Sunday evening. Such is life.
How’s everyone else doing so far this NaNo?
6 thoughts on “Friday NaNo-Day: Discovering the Discovery Draft”
Your discovery draft sounds interesting. Good luck!
Thanks, it’s working for me so far!
I’ve always called that first rough pass through the content my discovery draft. I like being able to gain momentum. I feel better and better as I go, and that helps me write more effectively.
I definitely feel more comfortable as I go, too. Setting the scene for the prologue – which sets the scene for the entire book – is a lot of weight to put on my first few pages, but I definitely fell into a rhythm once I stopped sweating the small stuff.
This is my first visit to your blog (which was a referral from Quintessential Editor on his Friday blog.) I tell people I am a writer, but that is not entirely true. I am really an observer who writes – a typical Five on the Enneagram. It was NaNoWriMo that helped me realize this. (side note: November is also No Shaving Month – do you suppose the two connected?)
Thank you for sharing about writing a discovery draft; it’s a very helpful strategy.
Thanks for stopping by Sharon! I think all people who write are natural observers, but I totally get what you mean. Calling myself a “Writer” is still an ill-defined distinction that I’m not entirely sure I’ve earned 😛 The discovery draft is still a new concept to me too, but that’s what NaNo is for! And if NaNo and No Shave November were actually connected, I’d end up with a scraggly blonde neck-beard… 😀