Fast First Draft: Progress Report

As of 10:00 tonight, I’ve written 11 scenes, 64 pages, and almost 16,000 words. I don’t put much weight into my word count, typically, but it’s a nice piece of fast drafting to see the numbers grow. I’m somewhere in the middle of Act II, with Act III and IV still to come. It’s that weird stage where I think I’ve probably got too many pages for a good balance of things that have happened and things that still have to happen, and there are peeps from the little voices saying things like, “You are going to have so much work to do,” and “Why even finish and print that scene, when nothing happens in it?” and “Sure, it’s easy to talk about putting all this off until revision, but you’re going to have to actually do it at some point, you know?”

It doesn’t always help that the voices aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know. And the good feelings I have about how I’m rolling the ideas and possibilities out onto the page–well, you know, those could all be delusions of some twisted grandeur, right?

I’m getting downright rude with the voices. I cut them off before they can finish what they want to say. I turn up my beboppy music, the stuff they don’t like to listen to. I use some of the words my dad wishes I wouldn’t, although I think he’d accept that it’s all for a good cause. And I keep writing.

I continue to bracket notes in each scene, places where–at some point–I will need to do research, or figure out the important roots and causes of my characters’ behavior. I let myself write more sentences than I know will be acceptable, so that I can explore a feeling or reaction or idea–knowing that, if I use it, the whole thing will show up in a different place and in totally different words. And I’ve stuck a couple of notes into the front of my binder.

  • What’s at stake? (I know it nebulously, but I will need to know it concretely.)
  • Get these kids moving. (As I realize I am writing way too many sitting scenes.)

More stuff to not fret about (too much!) until I’m ready to revise. Sometimes it scares me–all the big things I think I can leave out of this fast first draft. It doesn’t scare me nearly as much, though, as getting stuck in place trying to figure out a problem that won’t figure, or going down a worry path that has no end.

And, mostly, it’s good. Mostly I’m reveling in the click of the keyboard, the stack of pages in the binder, the fact that I am filling empty pages with words and sentences. Mostly, I’m loving being in love with a story again.

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