It’s time for another Absolute Write blog chain, and this time our fearless leader is Ralph at Neither Here Nor There. He started us off with his post about the agony of working on the second draft of his novel in Of Anxieties, Frustrations and Self-Imposed Deadlines; if you haven’t read it, you should. I’ll wait.
Tonight, I can only aspire to know Ralph’s pain. I am thisclose to finishing the first draft of Meet the Larssons, the novel I’ve been working on since January 2. I wrote something over 3,000 words yesterday alone; I finally called it a night out of sheer exhaustion sometime after 1am. The draft is currently over 102,000 words long.
But I didn’t finish it. I have at least two scenes left to go: the final scene I’ve had in mind since I first hashed out a couple of pages of notes on January 2, and one scene to get me there. If I hadn’t spent all evening working on a brief, I might have finished it this evening. As it is, I may not get any concentrated time to work on it until Monday, because the whole family is trekking out to New York for a wedding. We leave tomorrow, and because we’ve got a box full of crazy with our names on it, we’re driving to the Catskills in one day. Road trip! So I probably won’t finish until next week, which is a little frustrating.
Not as frustrating as it’s going to be restructuring MTL after I type “The End,” though. Those few pages of notes are the only outline I’ve ever done for this book, and it shows. If I’d spent more time outlining, I might not have had to do as much reworking in the second draft; I might even have bee able to skip the second draft altogether and go straight to the third draft, editing words one at a time instead of moving around entire chapters. On the other hand, I might never have started writing the novel at all, and just figuratively tossed those notes into the same cluttered drawer with all of my other unfinished (or unstarted) ideas for novels or stories over the past 15 years.
Once I have this novel under my belt, though, when I start my next one — and there will be a next one — I expect to spend a lot more time outlining it, maybe chapter by chapter. I have always thought of myself as an organic writer as opposed to an outliner, but I think I’ll try it the other way to see if it works better.
So what about you, Sassee? Do you outline, or do you just start throwing words onto the page?
Neither Here Nor There
A Blog, I Has One
Spittin’ Out Words Like a Llama
Life in Scribbletown
South Asia Fair
Corvette — An American Dream