Thursday, December 3, 2009

So, what's your Draft like?


This is the inspiration for this post as well as the weird dynamics, which have prevented me to type as much as I would like. While I scouted an actual café-bookstore, I think the only one in the city, I bought this notebook because of the covers, which had these authentic botanical illustrations. Since I am a sucker for well illustrated flora, I sacrificed the buck fifty to buy it and possibly write a neat first draft of a short story inside. I can’t imagine doing anything else to it other than writing a short story that fits the cover art and yes I do have some botanical ideas lurking inside.

As far as novels go I can’t go on writing on paper, because god it takes millions of years to type the first draft on the machine and then edit it accordingly, although with my debut novel I resorted to writing in a journal, when it had become clear I couldn’t stay focused. However with too many people with computer needs and one machine to accommodate all needs I am more or less pushed away from the computer in my prime time.

The next best thing was to write up the first draft to my story “From Behind Empty Eyes” on paper, while my schedule left no good lots to sit down on the keyboard and write during the day, which is my prime creative time. It goes slower for sure, but then again since my hand is slower with the pen, my mind is also not trying to rush way ahead with the story and leave my work underwritten, which is the case with most first drafts I get to complete. Sentences flow with certain pauses between each other, but the story coils and weaves elements easier and the voice builds in consistency. Yes, it’s slow and I hate having to read the first draft and then type it up and after which editing on MS Word, but I’m enabled to scribbled a line, paragraph or even a few words every now, when I am out. After all it doesn’t matter whether you write 1,000 words in one hour or in one day as long as you get something done and my daily quote is exactly that much, so I am quite happy.

As far as the progress goes I am on 4 out of 6 scenes in “From Behind Empty Eyes”, the two remaining scenes have to be inserted in the middle, but I enjoy how it turned out so far and I believe that there is some subliminal message encoded within and not just the zombies. I am optimistic to predict a late December final edit.

November’s been busy, but joyous for my mentor with her induction into motherhood, so I am forgoing any expectancy to receive any edits and just sucking it up, having a short once over and then wham hope "Lunar Hues" bedazzles the anthology people.

As far as the manuscript goes: SMH has proven to be quite the challenge around the middle and since I haven’t had a novel without something apocalyptic taking shape, I am even more in uncharted waters alongside my ‘middle part crisis’ problem. So far I am leaving the story distil until Saturday, when I can type on a more regular basis and with my academic schedule easing up I will force these hands to type 2,500 words a day until the exam session starts. But here is my updated progress.

29134 / 80000 words. 36% done!

While I am on the ways one can write drafts I have a question to those that might read and feel like commenting:



Anonymous said...

I love botanical themes, too. And, I'm a sucker for beautiful notebooks. The problem for me is, they're often so beautiful I don't feel what I write is worthy of being recorded within the pages.

When I think of the masters who wrote in ages past, Tolstoy and Dickens come to mind first, didn't they work by hand? I think there are merits of that method that word processors cannot touch. Like you said, at least your thoughts don't run away with you before your hand can get them down.

We have one computer in our home, too, but fortunately I don't need it that much as I have no aspirations of being a writer. I can't even leave as many comments on bogs as I'd like to!

Harry Markov said...

Bellezza, lovely to see you pop up here. I have the same problem with notebooks, but for this one I have a plan, which will last for long enough. I will make it my Reading Journal with the books I will read throughout the year. It will last for much longer this way and will help me organize, optimize my reading.

Yes, there are certainly merits. The nostalgia is one aspect I also enjoy feeling from the whole experience. There is a special sort of connection once you sit down to write by hand.