My Roughest Rough Draft Ever

NaNo was great. But man, am I left with a mess!

NaNo was great. But man, am I left with a mess!

I guess you could say this post is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of NaNoWriMo. (I’ll get to that…. please bear with me)

I still am not completely sure how I’m going to end “The Esclavan Abductions,” my NaNo novel for 2012, but with 100,000 words I’m definitely closing in on the final scene or two. I know I need one last conversation between my lovebirds, and I need protagonist Zate Polve to pay his father in prison a visit and then go back to the village of Carphead to see his innkeeper friend and father-figure. This will actually tie things up in a nice circle (geographically) for the novel, which starts in Carphead: I’m only just considering that, and I like the idea of that frame.

Anyway, I have a few ideas still up in the air I need to sort out, but the one thing I am 100% positive about at this point:

This is the ROUGHEST first draft I have ever penned.

I have so many inconsistencies, flaws, and holes that I shudder to consider them all. Dang, this edit is going to be something! Here are just a few of the issues I have to sort out (in case you care. If not, feel free to skip the woefully long list):

  • I added a subplot this week. At 90,000+ words. It involves released convicts from the capital’s jail who in no way figured into the story until after some 90,000 words. (Yea for being a pantser, I guess.) I definitely have to have these criminals mentioned a couple of times before they appear out of nowhere at the end.
  • I have characters (some major ones, like an evil sorceress and the head of that band of convicts mentioned above) whom I don’t have last names for. They’re going to need last names. And I’m going to have to insert them throughout the novel where appropriate as I read through.
  • A romance subplot feel stale and cliche to me. I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with it, how I’ll fix that.
  • There are major cultural concepts–like Herezoth’s religion–that I threw in references to throughout the draft without explanations.
  • I have some noble characters I’ll have to insert into scenes throughout the early sections. And I’m only just realizing this as I’m reaching the end.
  • I think I need some major changes in the economic situation of the slave kingdom Esclavay to justify a war I’m writing about.

These issues are really weighing on me. I guess, as I said above, it all boils down to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of NaNoWriMo.

THE GOOD: I have written over 100,000 words in 42 days. I can realistically finish this draft before 2013. That’s pretty dang exciting. And that’s the reason, despite what I’m about to say, I’m extremely glad I did NaNoWriMo and grateful to those who established the challenge.

THE BAD: That draft, as I said, is the roughest I’ve ever put together. Yes, I’ve gotten words on the page, but my story is more “here, there, and everywhere” than whomever the Beatles wrote that beautiful song for. Somehow my draft doesn’t feel cohesive even though I wrote with an outline for some 75-80% of the total content. While I didn’t stop the flow of creativity to make sure things connected well and I had a solid framework, thus pumping out the words…. Now I’m not sure things connect well in a lot of instances.

THE UGLY: The frustration I’m now feeling at the state of this project. I don’t doubt it’ll all come together in the end. I’ll smooth it out, and like I said, I don’t regret doing NaNoWriMo at all. But man…. I am way too perfectionistic for this!

PRIORITY ONE: get the draft done. No matter how bad I judge it. Then I can go on to get “The King’s Sons” ready for publications, then return to “The Esclavan Abductions.” Ah, the life of a writer!

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8 responses to “My Roughest Rough Draft Ever

  1. Hang in there! I’m currently going through revisions on a sequel I wrote to Imminent Danger, and it’s driving me crazy. I’ve basically had to re-write the entire second half because it wasn’t up to snuff. But no matter how much it’s driving me insane, it’s still happening, page by plodding page. So even if your draft isn’t connecting well right now, it will once you get out your editing goggles and go to town on it. But you already knew that 😀 Happy writing!

    • happy (re)writing to you too! hope that’s going well. i hate having to throw up large chunks of a WIP but it can totally be worth it. you’re totally right, page by plodding page is the only way to take it.

  2. The important thing that I can see it that at least you have a game plan. You are aware of the areas that you need to fix. That is a good part of the editing as I understand it. I have never written a book yet, but I know from writing short stories that you are bound to find a lot of other things along the way that you are going to want to change. Best of luck to you. I am sure by the time you are done, all will work seamlessly and no one would ever guess your struggles! 🙂

  3. Victoria – I’m just now mustering the courage to go back and read what I put together during NaNoWriMo 2012. Instead of reading every word right away, I’m going to look at the story’s structure in outline and examine the plot, it’s holes, and if the roles the characters have in each passage to make sure the structure is sound. Then I’ll get to the hard part, for me that is the writing and re-writing. After that comes the “hardest” part, handing it off for editing and preparing myself for all the questions and suggestions.

    I gotta say I really admire all the writers who do Fantasy. Although not my genre, I’m always impressed and intrigued by the imagination of authors who manage to put in place all the rules and geography that makes the setting work consistently throughout the story. That is an admirable task.

    • hope your novel works out! you know how rough my NaNo novel is based on the post. I outlined in advance, and I do know my overall structure will hold water. It’s just a matter of a LOT of polish and a number of small changes throughout…. more than I’m used to. But it’ll work, I’m pretty sure. Not looking forward to the edit though!

  4. Pingback: Ring the Bells!!! Draft Done!!! | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

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