Friday, November 28, 2008

I Just Don't Understand How They Do It

I've talked here before about plowing right through drafts. I'm always reading that that's what you should do. Just work straight through without worrying about quality, letting the chips fall where they may, yada yada. And I'm sure I've mentioned that while I think that sounds like a stellar idea, I couldn't do it if I had a gun to my head. I get to chapter fourteen and have to go back and do some work on chapters four and seven so that what I want to do in fourteen can happen.

I'm working on a book I've written over and over again these past two years, and today, for the second time in a week or so, I had to spend a lot of time going back and creating a thread so it will be available for me to pull in another couple of chapters. If you suddenly start writing something in chapter seventeen without having provided the lead-in for it to happen in the earlier chapters, don't you feel as if you're standing on the seventeenth story of a building that has, shall we say, no structural integrity? What are the chances that you'll be able to patch things up properly down the road?

Unless, of course, all those other writers get the job done correctly the first time. That's a possibility, I suppose.

4 comments:

J. L. Bell said...

I firmly believe that every writer has his or her own method of reaching the goal of a polished draft. Some start with a plot outline, some start writing at the beginning, some even start in the middle. Some revise as they go along, some expand a bare-bones draft, some cut an overstuffed draft. All that matters is the final product. And usually it's impossible to tell what path or method an author followed.

gail said...

That last sentence makes an excellent point.

LJ said...

"Some start with a plot outline, some start writing at the beginning, some even start in the middle. Some revise as they go along, some expand a bare-bones draft, some cut an overstuffed draft..."

I might add, some go quietly insane on a regular basis.

lisanowak said...

"...don't you feel as if you're standing on the seventeenth story of a building that has, shall we say, no structural integrity?"

I know exactly how you feel! I had that problem on one of my manuscripts, and I had to go back and add a scene when I figured out one of my minor characters was more important to the plot than I'd thought he was going to be.

With minor tweeks I can usually let it slide, but sometimes it's exactly as you describe.