Friday, September 11, 2009

Rough Thoughts

After completing my latest rough draft, I had some additional thoughts, some of which may overlap with a previous post, but even if so, I feel they are important enough to rehash.

Don’t slow down. Keep the rough draft moving. I have a tendency to want to edit as I go, and that jeopardizes my train of thought. For example, I might write: “Her eyes were blue,” and think, “No, not blue. Better than blue. What’s another word for blue?” Then I rack my brain for words or open the thesaurus. Finally, I insert the word “cerulean,” but by now, I’ve forgotten everything else I imagined about the character or how I was going to unveil her appearance. Rather than trying to be overly poetic, I often revert back to my everyday vocabulary in order to keep things simple, even if the word “blue” appears twelve times in the same paragraph.

Another tip is to keep notes as you go. I’ll either have a separate document on my computer for this, or (as is more often the case) I’ll have a loose sheet of paper on my desk that I can scribble on. In my latest draft, I decided partway through a battle that I didn’t like the weapon one of the characters was using, but rather than going back through the previous paragraphs to figure out how and when to insert a different weapon, I simply made a note of the problem and continued writing as though the character had always carried it. So long as I read my notes (or at least pay attention while editing), I’ll correct this blooper later.

The important thing is to identify how you tend to slow yourself down during the rough draft and to find ways around those obstacles. Word choice (especially for character names) is probably my biggest downfall, but I know how to avoid it. What makes a rough draft rough for you?

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