Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writer Wednesday: How Many Documents Does It Take To Draft A Novel?

Last week, I buckled down and finished drafting my sequel. I had been struggling with it because I wasn't able to fast draft for a while. Why? It's a sequel and I needed a ton of info in front of me to write it. So...here's what my workspace ended up looking like.

First, I opened my spiral notebook and made a chart listing chapter number, POV Character (it's dual POV), page number, and major event that happens. I also kept a list of trademarks I mentioned since my publisher requires that.

Second, I opened my synopsis I had to submit to my publisher.

Third, I opened my Scrivener planning document.

Fourth, I opened the previous book in a Word document.

Fifth, I opened the Word document I was drafting in.

Yup, five documents to draft one book. Am I crazy? Well, at first I thought so, but then I went from writing about 5K a day to writing anywhere between 10k-12k a day. That's a big difference. By the end of the week, I had the draft finished. I should mention I had 30K before the week began, but still, that's almost 50K in one week. 

So my organized chaos of a work area was important for me to succeed because I had everything I needed at my fingertips. What else was important was my friend and fellow author, Beth Fred. We were constantly challenging each other to word wars, which is really seeing how much you can write in a designated time. Look at that! We found a productive way to use the Facebook chat feature. :)

Has your writing space ever looked like organized chaos? Do you have things you need in order to draft?

57 comments:

  1. Oh would be fun to actually see your virtual workplace visually in action:)

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  2. I definitely have an organized-chaotic-looking writing space. Granted, at times I confuse myself with it all in front of me, but I need the material there for guidance.

    You are an absolute rock star with hammering out wordage. Go U!

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    1. Thanks, Sheri. I'm glad I'm not the only one who writes in organized chaos.

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  3. It sounds like a NASA mission control room! I am a firm believer in creating chaos to create order. Most of the time my work space falls well behind the trash can in terms or order, notebooks, scraps of notes, papers, research material, and even a big piece of dry erase board to scribble on.
    Great work on getting it done.

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    1. Ooh, a dry erase board! Might have to add that to my work space. ;)

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  4. My writing looked a little like that this week as I worked on finishing my play script - list of characters, list of motives, list of what I need to reveal, chart of how many times people have already appeared in which scene, and the document I was writing in itself. Chaotic but it worked and I finished my script.

    Generally, when working on my novel, I just wing it with a pen and a pad until I have to revise, redraft and check all the facts.

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    1. It's interesting that with plays you have a work space full of lists and other sheets but for a novel you don't. Any reason?

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  6. You draft so incredibly fast! You've got some good tips here.

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  7. You draft so incredibly fast! You've got some good tips here.

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  8. You draft so incredibly fast! You've got some good tips here.

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  9. Interesting that you use Scrivener just as a planning tool and Word as your drafting tool. Your word counts rock!

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    1. I admit, I don't like Scrivener for drafting. I tried it once and then ended up copying and pasting to Word. I'm weird.

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  10. Congrats to you (and Beth) for being so organized and productive. You even put the NaNo-ers to shame. Good luck editing! :-)

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  11. No matter how many outlines I had opened and charted, I could never write 10-12K words a day. Not even with a gun to my head. So you are not only organized, (I get the charts as I outline also) but also incredibly productive.

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    1. We should probably add "a little insane" in there. ;)

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  12. Girl, your productivity boggles my mind! 50K in one week?!? You go, girl!

    I hear you, drafting a sequel is a lot trickier than writing a stand alone. You have to keep all of those little details from the first book in sync. It's not easy.

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    1. No, it's not. It's like a puzzle in layers.

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  13. Wow! I am so not a fast writer. 1200 in a day is good for me. And so...are your fingers sore? ;)

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    1. lol A little. My laptop keys are getting worn. Some of the letters are wearing right off.

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  14. I'm unorganized and sloooowww. Maybe your way will help. Thanks.

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    1. My way looks chaotic but it keeps everything at my fingertips where I need it, so it works for me. Give it a try.

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  15. Sounds like an awesome process, Kelly!

    All the best with the sequel.

    Nas

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  16. It seems that I would need those five things and then nothing else to distract me. I usually have so many other things.

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    1. I have my family and friends well trained. They know not to call during my writing time unless it's absolutely necessary. :)

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  17. My writing space is always a mess. My boyfriend is constantly telling me to organize it and when he moves things while cleaning, I cringe because I can't find the notebooks or notepads that I need! Even though it's a mess, it's my mess. It might not look organized to him, but in my head, it is. Even though there may be a notebook under the chair or sticky pads behind my laptop and on the walls, I always know where everything is, lol.

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    1. And that's all that matters. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you. :)

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  18. Sometimes my head feels like organized chaos when I'm writing. It's not just the draft, but I've got to keep track of this bit of information, backtrack to see if I've done this or that earlier or elsewhere in the draft, remind myself to add on that little detail...

    It can be exhausting, and try to explain that to a non-writer.

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    1. Yeah, it's something only a writer can understand.

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  19. I have often had many documents opened at once. It helps me for fast references to things I need to know while writing. I think as long as our systems only look crazy to others- that is fine. There is a difference between it looking crazy and actually being crazy. :) Awesome job drafting!

    ~Jess

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    1. Very true! It's only crazy if you don't understand it. :)

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  20. You are a god when it comes to fast drafting. I've made a note of your techniques and hope to be able to come close to your daily word counts one day! :)

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    1. It's really not that impressive when you consider it takes me about six hours to do that and I don't really have interruptions because I don't answer the phone when I'm writing.

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  21. I am exhausted reading about your process, but also smiling. I think every writer has their own system. I use Scrivener sometimes, and other times I write in word. I've only recently (as in the last year become comfortable with a synopsis, but I don't always stick to it. I echo what others said - you are the queen of word count. Congrats!

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    1. Brenda, it sounds like you go with whatever works for that particular manuscript, and I can relate. Every manuscript I write is different. Some I plan and plan and plan and then throw the plan away so I can let my characters have freedom to be themselves. Others I have a synopsis and then just draft, allowing the gaps to fill themselves in. You have to be flexible.

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  22. Kelly! WOW! You are so organized and motivated! My target for my current (chapter book) WIP is 12,000-14,000 words...and you are able to WRITE 12,000 words a day--that just blows my mind! = ) I have a Scrivener trial that I am trying right now, but I'm make very little progress figuring it all out. Do you think this program is more helpful for longer works? I just can't decide if, for my purposes, my trusty MS Word format is better.

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    1. Honestly, I haven't fiddled with Scrivener enough as far as drafting. I bought it because I love the planning features. I still draft in Word. One day I figure it out. I really want to see how it can export as an epub file. I'd like to put out some free short stories one day, so that would be handy.

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  23. My work area isn't usually very messy. But my computer sure is! That's because I usually don't use notebooks to write things down. I create a main file for each story on my computer. Then I create files within that for any research, ideas, character ideas etc. I can't stand my work area to have too much clutter so this works out good for me. I'd say YOUR way works great for you because you are a smokin' writin' machine!!

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    1. I really think it's all about finding what works for you, and honestly, what works for me for one book might not work for the next. I've learned to be flexible.

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  24. My head is organized chaos. I don't need more. I need less! lol

    You sound so much more at ease than I am when I "attempt" to write. :)

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    1. I feel like drafting is more of trying to type as fast as my character play out that story in my head, so I'm pretty at ease with that stage of writing.

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  25. Some people set up two computer screens. I'm comfortable switching between software, though.

    Awesome word count.

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    1. I have two computers but I try not to set them both up like that. I think I'd feel really overwhelmed just by the thought. lol

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  26. That's pretty amazing, Kell. Right now, I'm squeezing in writing when I can, since I'm doing my Medical Transcription, and that stuff is TOUGH. Keep at it, girl! You are awesome. :)

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  27. Your fast drafting is at lightning speed! I don't know what Scrivener is but I suppose having word documents and notebooks all opened at once is a good idea. I tend to focus on one (either a word doc. or my notebook) before merging them.

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    1. It was crazy how many documents I was working from, but it worked. :)

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  28. Yes, I tend to draft with a number of documents open, plus my bible for that novel open beside me. But I will never in this lifetime write 50K words in one week. Your output is crazy-amazing.

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    1. Keep in mind that's about 25 hours of writing though, so it's not as impressive as it sounds.

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  29. as always you are an inspiration to us all. Taking your words to good use!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Eliza. That's really sweet of you to say.

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