Draft zero

They say your nano draft is draft zero. I’m finding that to be accurate. 36k words in, I figured out where the plot should be going. At 40k my main character talked herself into a lot of trouble. In the swimming pool this morning, I/she finally figured out the solution.

Now I have a much better idea of what the main plotline needs to be: in some ways similar to my original plan, in other ways completely different.

This means that I have a clear path ahead of me: my first aim is to get to the 50k nano target. I’m at around 43k so far, with tonight’s contribution and an all-day write-in tomorrow ahead of me. By the end of that I should have done my 50k. In order to do that, I need to take a quick look at what I’ve written and figure out any major holes I can fill in to use the rest of my words wisely.

Then I’ll fill in the index card for each of my scrivener documents, figure out which ones to keep and which ones to discard and discover just how many words I’ve lost completely. I can fill in the blanks with cards, which will be expanded to full extracts, and the bits should go together to make a whole. I’ve got another all day write-in on Wednesday, and I should be able to spend a good deal of that on establishing the groundwork and moving forward.

By the end of that stage, I’ll have a first draft ready to edit, and can start worrying about quality rather than just quantity.

Will I always need to write a draft zero? Possibly not. Just as a painter has to learn to use his tools and to plan out his painting, but will grow more experienced with time and less reliant on the learning stage, so I expect that I’ll grow more experienced with structuring a plot, and will be able to dispense with some of the preparation. But it’s been an invaluable experience, just putting words together and seeing how it comes into a story. It’s like doing a jigsaw – how ever much time you spend staring at a photo, you’ll never know it as clearly as if you make it into a jigsaw and spend hours looking at small sections only.


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