Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fast or Slow?

I’m about 30,000 words into the first draft of my novel.  My goal is to get the remaining roughly 50,000 down by the end of August.  That’s about 1,000 words a day which is pretty doable.

Doable, that is, if I don’t think too much.

The strategy that I’ve chosen for the first draft of this book is the “Just Get Through It” approach.  I want to get this draft finished and then spend the next three or four months editing new drafts.  Of course as I’m going, I constantly think of changes I want to make, things I need to add earlier on and even whole new locations for the story.  Whenever I’m struck by these ideas, I write them in a lovely green notebook that I carry around with me (or scrawl them on the back of envelopes or junk mail on my bedside table).  My plan is to go back to those ideas once the editing phase begins and make all those changes then.

I think it’s working, but sometimes I wonder if I would be better off taking more time with the first draft, putting more thought in before I write and avoiding a lot of the big changes I’ll have to go back and make later – sort of a Slow And Steady approach, if you will.

Tell me, what strategy do you employ on the first draft?  Are you a Just Get Through It-type or follower of the church of Slow and Steady?




  1. I prefer fairly quick myself. I find as I have more projects, that if I go to slow on a given one, I forget where I was. I've been known to repeat the SAME GREAT SCENE as many as 3 times because I forgot I did it already... yup... quick on the first draft...

  2. Yeah, I'm finding that if I go too slow, I lose the flow of the story in my head and start to feel lost.

    I know the writing is messy when I go fast, but I think it's helping me get the structure of the story down and that's what first drafts are for.