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Monday, August 23, 2010

First draft

Still keeping in mind my September 15th date to have a first draft of When We Were the Kids, I have to take a step back and wonder what exactly is a first draft. What constitutes it? Should it really reflect the final draft?

Given the scope I have of this book, this proposed first draft is more of a look at what I have so far. What more should I add to the story? What should I subtract from the story? I still think you should have a lot to work with in the editing process instead of wishing you had more to work with. In other words, editing down 400 pages is better than editing down 100 pages.

So far, I have the main outline of the book fleshed out. There are key events that happen, hopefully giving a sense of closure by the end. I also have plenty about what happens in between those events. A house isn't just a slab and a roof, you know?

Writing any story, fiction or nonfiction, is easier to finish when you have an end in mind. I keep wondering whenever I read something, "Where is this going?" so I think about that when I write. If I choose to go a little off the main course, will I reward the reader with hanging in there?

I recently met up with friends of mine who have an informal, monthly writing group. This was the first time I ever heard the material read aloud, and hearing the material made me believe the material is going in the right direction. Getting that instant feedback was quite good. And it helped that I got honest, but not super-negative or super-harsh, feedback.

Something that I can't help notice is the amount of time I spend working on this book as compared to my first. I had to spend five months working solely on Post to get a first draft, and then almost a full year editing the whole before all was said and done. Since I'm not wading through hours of interviews and other books for research, the amount of time spent is significantly less. That's not to say I'm less committed. There's simply less desire to do a ton of research. Hopefully that won't backfire.

That's the current status as of today.

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