When I first started this blog back in February, I had a very clear mission statement. I wanted to describe the entire writing process of a book, from beginning to end. I already had one-and-a-half under my belt (along with a novella and a few short stories), and thought that this would help me refine the whole process.
And see how well it went! I complained, whined, and procrastinated. And, this morning, I finally finished the first draft of Mrs. Shadow. The complaining and the whining is the important part. Finishing was only a side effect. Seriously; I'm no closer than before to figuring out how to write. It's like falling down a hill and somehow finding that I've managed to cross a finish line on the way.
The more I write, the slower and slower I seem to get. When I moved here, I figured I might get down 3-4000 words in a good day. That may seem ridiculously optimistic; one cannot write that much and expect it to be good. And, of course, I didn't manage it; by the end, 2000 words was a good day for me. When I'm working on a first draft, I don't care about good. My first drafts are *never* good. I have to rewrite 90% of it. For some reason, that's what works best for me: it's about making a framework. I have to make the framework before I tear it down and replace it.
For instance: when I first started the book back in March, I had the basic spark - not a unique idea, but something that made the wheels in my brain turn. I couldn't *stop* thinking about it; I kept thinking of complications. I know this is vague, but that's because I don't want to spoil the book for my wife, who isn't going to get to see it for a few more months.
So I sat down with the name of the character, a really shallow idea of who she was, and a little bit about what was going to happen in the near future. And then I started writing. I know; there should probably be more preparation. But that's the point of my first draft; it IS preparation. While writing, I find out who everyone is, what they want, how they react. It's a big surprise.
The first page I started writing was a little girl's birthday party. Without thinking about the consequences, I took away her mother and gave her a very young stepmother. And then I kept going; let the characters interact however they wanted.
And the stepmother ended up being one of the most important people in the book. That's the reason I have to come up with a framework - I had no idea. I thought that certain people would die; certain others would disappear. I was completely wrong about most of it.
There were times I had no idea what would happen. Those were the worst; I had to force myself to sit at that keyboard and type a thousand words of what I can only assume is pure drivel. Enough to get me to the next exciting point.
In any case - the book is finished, and it's awful. No one's going to read it. But there's good potential; there's a decent book waiting to be carved out. I'm putting it aside for a couple of months and taking a break. Rebecca and I are going to be celebrating anniversary / birthdays in the next two or three weeks; once that's all over, I'll get back to revising The Cherubim, and - eventually - Mrs. Shadow.