Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WiP Wednesday: Top Speed Organic

I'm up to 40,000 words on my work-in-progress (WiP).

I generally shoot for at least 50,000 words on a first draft. Usually they're a bit over that word-count by the time I type THE END. Then the rewrites seem to make them even longer. My word counts usually hover around 70,000 by the time I start querying.

It's funny how you start to notice these patterns when you've written several books.

If I keep up the pace at which I've been writing the last two days, I could be done with this first draft by next week.

I took a little writing break because I didn't know how the story would end (and I was distracted with querying). But now I know my direction so I'm plowing forward at top speed.

Can you tell I'm an organic writer? I had the premise in place, but I didn't know how my characters would respond to certain situations until I started writing about them.

There's no point being slow with first drafts, in my humble opinion. It's a vomit fest and I'll probably rewrite 99% of my words by the time I'm done. No point holding back and attempting perfection.

Writers: how does what I'm describing compare with your writing process? (I'm probably driving all you plotters out there crazy, aren't I? *grin*) Non-writers: considering your personality, what kind of writer would you be if you were a writer-- an intricate plotter or an organic go-with-the-flow?

14 comments:

  1. Esther VanderlaanJune 8, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Ooh, I'm a meager 7, 671 words.

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  2. Don't worry, Esther! That's really good! It depends on what you write ... I just know the minimum word count for my genre is about this length, so that's what a shoot for. Everybody's different in how they go about first drafts! :)

    Amy

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  3. I'm a plodder/plotter with a top cover of organic compost.
    :-)
    Depends on the project, depends on the day. Usually there is a weird mix of anal retentive planning and seat-of-pants flying by.

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  4. Love hearing your process!

    I'm a slow first drafter. I do get to points where I plow through like that . . . especially at the end.

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  5. Wow I'd LOVE to be at 40k!! I'm approaching 20k though, which I'm ok with because I only started it in April. And I don't typically rewrite 99% of my words... I do some tweaking, and a lot of adding to set the scenes better, but my bones will probably still be my bones when it's all said and done. I also revise a lot as I'm writing... can't help myself! :) Good luck finishing that first draft!

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  6. Lots of vomiting here, too:) I can't wait to read it!

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  7. Whoop! That's terrific, Amy. How many revisions do you typically go through before you start to query?

    .

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  8. Michelle, with my last book I actually rewrote it (not editing, but actually sitting down with a blank piece of paper and starting again) once, and then retyped it with huge overhauls three more times after that. Then I did edits. It was exhausting, but so worth it. That doesn't include the first chapter, though. I literally rewrote that chapter 20 times. I'm sure people who are good plotters don't need to go through that kind of trauma, but since I can type quickly, this way worked for me. :)

    Amy

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  9. That's what I call dedication!

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  10. I've written both ways, but I prefer to write more organically. Sounds like you're on a real streak!

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  11. When I took my Creative Writing class in school, my teacher made us plot the whole thing, but I couldn't do it. So I wrote the story, then would go back and make a plot outline from what I wrote :) She used to get so mad at me! I can't do it though... my characters did NOT like being told what to do.

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  12. I don't know how you do it! As much as I like the idea of writing fast, I am a slow novel-writer. Nonfiction is a whole another category -- that I can write fast and well (2-3 drafts).

    All the novels I've written so far (three) have percolated in my head for 20 years. Yeah, I'm really slow. You were just a baby then. Grin.

    I'm a fairly clean first drafter because I tend to revise as I write. Sometimes I write *placeholder* scenes so that I can move forward. Still, the very act of writing helps me to discover my characters, and yes, they can mutiny against the careful plot I've created for them.

    The only book I ever wrote without an outline or anything is in such shambles, I don't even know what to do with it. I'll probably scrap everything and start over again in my methodical way. But from that *vomit-fest* as you put it, I realize that two books are hidden in there, one MG and one YA.

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  13. Amy,
    I love the term organic writer. I'm one too. It sounds much nicer than being a pantser. :)

    Congratulations on your progress. I spent a lot of the day reading...no writing. But I'm fine with that. It was our first day at the cabin. :D

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  14. I'm with you...I'm a pantser. I just did a blog on the length of first drafts today. Funny, we must all be thinking about it. My current one is short but I am not panicking because I add ALOT in the second pass.

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