Saturday, January 14, 2017

Is it drafty in here, or is just me?

Ernest Hemmingway once (in a letter containing several other gems of advice to an aspiring writer) said "The first draft of anything is shit".

(Although I bet as he typed/wrote that he had his fingers crossed, knowing only too well that his shopping list for that morning would have probably won him a couple of Pulitzer fiction prizes)

The first draft of Recreant is now complete.  90,291 words (some of them really short ones) across 256 pages over 166 days of writing.  And Ernie Baby (as I'm sure he wouldn't mind me calling him, especially as he's quite dead) was fucking spot on.

Cue the internal struggles;

"That epic prologue that you wrote and were really happy with? That flash-forward that set the universe and the main characters up so perfectly? It's no longer appropriate because the plot ended up meandering off in another direction, meaning you've written a flash-forward that can never happen."

"Perhaps you could fuck about with it and make it a dream sequence? No! Bad David! Lazy, lazy, lazy! It's going to have to go." (Selects all text in Prologue and looks sorrowfully at the word count before hitting delete. That's 1,865 words gone).

"Okay, that hurt. But it was necessary. The rest reads okay though, right?"


"Shit. You've added a load of unnecessary backstory for a character who turns out, in the end, to be pretty unimportant."

"But that character history is good stuff.  I can just use it for somebody else though, right? Ah. No."

"Why are those characters suddenly the best of friends? You never even had them meet. In fact they can't possibly have met."

"You were so concerned about having too many male characters that you've just lazily changed one to a female and haven't changed the story accordingly."

"That character is awesome - I mean, really good. But then you just forget completely about them."

"The build-up to that final epic battle is really good, but you really need to learn some more words to represent explosions."

"That ending is really rushed. For some reason, you were really desperate to get that first draft done, weren't you?  And now look where we are. Working on a draft with a rushed ending."

"And you're writing a blog post when you should really be working on that second draft."


Still, at least I can count the words in this blog post and put it into my word count for the day.  Now that's progress.

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