Yeah, I'm talking mind games again. Remember when I mentioned expanding the definition of "first draft" to keep myself loose as I write? I thought it was cool that you guys understood. Your comments heightened that I'm-so-glad-I'm-blogging-and-interacting-with-lots-of-other-writers feeling, and they made me really think about my writing process. That's important because I never want to become stagnant as a writer; there's always room for growth.
So here's where I am now: My group met and we discussed the first chapters of my new WIP. It went well, in my humble opinion, though I'm definitely still writing my way into the novel. While I have an outline, it's very fluid. Some things looked great on the outline, but when I started writing...they had to be changed or tweaked. As we discussed the chapters, we brainstormed a bit. Great stuff came to the surface, which equals more changes.
I'm excited! My OCD brain loves strengthening the beginning of the story before launching into the rest. Then I know I'm building on top of something that's fairly sturdy. Once I get in deeper, I'll have to go back fewer times--though I'll still have to go back. At least that's been my pattern in the past. Sometimes, I won't allow myself to go back; in those cases, I'll write myself notes so I can push forward and make the changes later. But when I'm at the beginning, I need this "writing in" period. And while I'm finding every manuscript is different, I've been doing this long enough to have figured out some of the things that work for me and other things that don't. Of course, some of these may change over time.
Getting back to the mind games, I turned in my new chapter when we met. I reminded my critique group that this is the first draft. Obviously, they were fully aware of this. But still. It fed the first draft magic in my head. I know that chapter has too much exposition at the beginning of it. I know it's there for me, and I'll end up cutting most of it later, if not next week. I also know there's really good stuff in that chapter--things that will make me want to sit down and write every day and tell a whole story. I'm comfortable with all this because I'll clean up the whole book before any agents or editors see it. Dang, I'll revise it several times before any humans outside of critique group get their eyes on it!
But guess what? I'm still writing the first draft. I. Love. That.
Some of you have already answered this, but do you consider it a first draft when you rework a chapter several times? I read the term "zero draft" yesterday. Can someone tell me what that is? It sounds like a mind game I might like... ;)
I'll close with a picture of Pepper and Thistle. They have nothing to do with this post, but they're so darn cute, aren't they?!