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Monday, February 21, 2011

Pam vs. Quita: First Drafts!

Writing Song of the Day: "First Love" by Adele

Pam Vs. Quita is a series in which we battle it out over our writing methods and you, our lovely followers, choose the successor...or at least let us know who you agree with more. :)

Quita royally kicked Pam's hind-pots on the first installment, which was all about story ideas. Now, we're rumbling over how we get those dreaded first drafts done.


Pam's Thoughts:

First drafts. Just typing those two words sends chills up and down my spine (or it could be I still have to ice my knee post-surgery). While, of course, I heart writing, I'm not the fan of the first draft. It takes SO much will power to shut off my internal editor and just get the damn story out.

Here's the thing--I'm not a plotter nor a panster. I'm some weird hybrid of both (plonster?). I start outlining the first few chapters of my WIP. I tend to look at each chapter like a short story--I want to make sure that there's always some kind of conflict that the protagonist is trying to overcome. If I hit a roadblock, I just start to write what I have. As looney tunes as it may sound, the characters eventually start to speak to me and steer the story the rest of the way. I then may get inspired and start outlining the remaining few chapters.

On my current WIP, I'm having trouble getting past that roadblock. So, my trusty cousin, Quita (though in this post, she shall be noted as My Ain True Enemy), downloaded the beta version of Scrivener for Windows for me. I plan on placing the scenes I've written so far on different note cards and rearranging them until I have an ah-ha moment. From there, I'll either just write or plot out the remaining few chapters. A plontser, you see. The fun stuff is with revisions, but more on that later...

Quita's Thoughts:

First drafts are sooo annoying, but fun at the same time. I'm a little bipolar about them, I guess. And impatient. That's my biggest pet peeve about the first draft--why can't all of the plots and ideas flow out of my head as quick as I'm thinking of them? I really wish there was a way to get some of those scenes out without having to type it all. Microsoft needs to come out with a stream of consciousness word program--the words appear as you think them!

But, I digress. How do I write my first draft? I don't really have an interesting answer to this. It's very simple: I just get it all out. I have my ideas outlined (for the most part) and then I just type it all up. As I go along, I change things and then my outline gets all scratched and ugly, but that's okay :) That's what programs like Scrivener are for--it's about time for me to give up the paper and pencil method, I suppose. So, my first drafts are usually just "dumped" out for lack of a better word. I don't self-edit, I just type it all and I worry about changing things later.

Okay that's Round 2? Who's the victor this week??

11 comments:

Holly Dodson said...

I think maybe I am weird. Because I really like first drafting. Really really. lol

I'm with Pam in that I'll detail out a few specifics for a story, and then I run with it. I'm like Quita in that wherever the story goes, it's got to come out fast. (Stream of consciousness Word would be AMAZING)

I'm calling it a draw. ;)

Jamie - I'm a guy, btw said...

I love this "battle", ladies...so fun! And this time, I'm actually gonna go all Switzerland and not choose...because I like both methods. I'm with you Pam in that I think I'm a "plontser" too (love that!), but I'm also with you Quita in that I get impatient that I can't write the ideas/scenes down as fast as my mind produces them! But I have gotten a digital recorder, and that helps a lot! Thanks for the insight ladies, you rock as usual!

Heather Hellmann said...

I like writing first drafts. It feels good to get everything out of my head and into a word document. I agree with what Quita said about how annoying it can be not being able to keep up with the story in your head.

hopejunkie said...

I outline a paragraph or so for each chapter, mentioning the characters involved and the date it should take place. Definitely a plotter. If I notice that the story is going to go somewhere else, I re-outline. This allows me to draft a decent first draft in 10ish days. I LOVE first drafts.

Racquel Henry said...

Hmmm...I have trouble getting it all out because I'm continuously editing as I go. National Novel Writing Month was the first time I turned off my self editor and just got the words on the page (Believe me this was no difficult task). It was also the first time I actually outlined. I outlined the first half of the story, then resorted to letting the story tell itself, which is something I'm finding I prefer. I'm still working on not editing as I go, but I'd say overall I like to just get the story out, letting the characters speak to me along the way. :)

Racquel Henry said...

I meant to say it was no easy task! Whoops! lol

Alicia Gregoire said...

I love first drafts. It's the only place where I can put as many swears in the narrative as I use in real life. (Of course, I can have things be ultra ridiculous too.) I'm a hybrid at heart, I plot loosely for the whole story, but still have a lot that I can manipulate. I also use notecards/scrivener to move everything around.

erica and christy said...

I absolutely hearted my first first draft. Then the editing process made me heart it a bit less. Then the final draft I loved loads, and still do (even if no one else does).

Now, um, I'm stuck at about 21k. Love the story. Don't love the author at this point. Maybe I need to become a hybrid...
erica

KO: The Insect Collector said...

Plontster FTW!

Sarah Nicolas said...

PANTSERS FTW! :) haha! Plontser! I love all the words for the middle of the spectrum :)

Morgan said...

I am definitely a pantser. I tried the whole planning thing-- it just doesn't work for me! But I agree with Pam on the difficulties of turning off my inner editor. I can't resist going back and polishing my sentences before trudging ahead with the story!