As some of you know, I have been knee-deep in COVID doctor-y stuff since the beginning of March. I'm one of the physician leaders at my hospital, and the non-hospital clinic has been crazy pants. And over the past several weeks we've had a lot more sick patients -- things are starting to heat up. And the meetings just keep coming. My brain has had one setting and it's: COVID COVID COVID 24/7.
So for months, the only writing work I've been able to successfully accomplish involved not CREATION but only REVISION. These are not equal activities. I can tell a big difference between CREATION which takes a clear, uncluttered mind and longer periods of blank, free time -- versus REVISION, with I can do in short snippets and in between non-writing activities. (And while on call, true.)
Recently, I had a great time at Emerald City Writers’ Conference and did a talk on Fastdrafting 101. A few questions came up after this talk that I wanted to address here. I may have answered some of the questions, but honestly, the first 20-30 minutes of that talk was like an out-of-body experience, due to nerves. Also, if I cussed during that time, I'm super sorry... (sometimes I say bad things when I'm super nervous)
As we approach NaNoWriMo, the fastdrafting materials might be helpful for those WriMo-ers out there gearing up for November!
Here are my prior fastdrafting blog posts, if you would like a refresher/cautionary tale…
Part 1: I've got an idea!
Part 2: Bad decision making, for sure, but what could possibly go wrong?
Part 3: Uh oh...
Recap: Because of some questionable decision-making on my part, I ended up fastdrafting a paranormal romance novel over an approximately 4 day period. Part 1 and Part 2 give a good recap of those four days of insanity.
So, the first draft of the novel was completed as of 2/23/16. Deadline to send it to the developmental editor: 3/6/16. My personal preference? I hate being late, so I generally try to get things in a little early, mostly to reinforce to my latent OCD. So late is not an option.
That meant I had to take the novel from first draft (37K words) to ~45K words – my second stage goal. No, the book is not done yet – not by any stretch – but I wanted it layered enough for the editor to take a look and make revision suggestions before I go back for another rewrite and expand it some more.
Disclaimer: I make no claims as to the quality of the manuscript. Also, no claims as to any expertise other than how dumb I was to attempt something like this in such a short period of time. Making bad choices? I'm a level 11 certified expert.
So. 12 days to revise the book. 160 pages divided by 12 = 13.5 pages/day. Should be easy, right? (Spoiler alert: This scheme doesn’t work well if you have a day job.)
In the last post, we talked about what IS fastdrafting. Now I'm going to share how I tried it. Yes, everyone is different, but maybe this will give other folks good ideas for writing to work for them.
What are the rules?
As far as I can tell, there’s nothing set in stone, but here’s what I needed to pull this off:
Here’s what happened (times are approximate)
Friday 7-9am – Shiny object! Day off work! Surf Internet and read other folks’ blogs and writing articles. Polish up website. Check electronic medical records (EMR) at work to sign off orders and put out fires.
There have been lots of great articles on fastdrafting, but I wasn’t a believer…
Until this last week. You see, I had a four-day weekend earmarked to write. I had a deadline for a developmental editor pass in two weeks. And before this last weekend started, I had…no book.
So I figured, why not? Let’s try fastdrafting. And I mean really fast. Could I crank out my usual first draft of a novel in four days? (Usual first draft for me = 35-40K words FYI)
What is fastdrafting?
Basically, it’s writing the first draft of the book without stopping (editing) and just getting the ideas and words down on paper. Some websites shoot for getting a book done in one, two, or four weeks with this method. I think it must also depend on the length of the book.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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