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...
Question): How many documents do you prepare before the fastdrafting begins?
Answer): 3. The outline which gets revised several times before it becomes final. This is a handwritten document. I’d show you a copy, but no one can read my handwriting. The second item is the character interviews (hero/heroine/villain). And any pictures for character or motif inspiration. Other than that, the only other document is the fastdrafted word document. (Yes, I use Word. Yes, I know I’m probably supposed to use something like Scribner. I know.)
Question): Do you format as you go?
Answer): Absolutely not. I don’t even count chapters as I’m going along. Instead, I write what I think is a chapter, insert a page break, and then start the next chapter with one word: “Chapter”. I don’t center the word, don’t worry about spaces down the page. Same thing goes for section breaks. Just get some kind of item in the text to indicate a break – use an asterisk or ampersand or something. Then I keep writing.
Question): What was the fastest time from first idea to final draft?
Answer): First of all, final draft tends to go much longer, as I consider the final draft to be the final product that goes to print. But for the purposes of this discussion, if we assume the final draft is the best I can get the book before it goes for editing with the publisher, then the fastest time is a few months. Fastest pre-writing/interviewing was 2 weeks, 4 days of fastrdrafting, then 4-6 weeks of editing. So let’s say fastest possible is 2 months, but most drafts are more like 3-4 months. As we discussed, you pay back that time efficiency from drafting quickly by needing a longer editing process.
Good luck with your novel draft -- however you get it done.
Just get it done!
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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