This page has moved to a new address.

The First Draft! (or, climbing the mountain)

Cheryl's Musings: The First Draft! (or, climbing the mountain)

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


The First Draft! (or, climbing the mountain)


Yes, I’m still mulling over the weird process of how we write first drafts. Everyone seems to do this differently: some people wake up in the night hearing their characters’ voices. Others have a general concept of plot and characters and just start writing, planning to go back later and iron out any wrinkles in structure. I like to outline first—outline in such detail that one editor said I was really creating a storyboard for an entire novel. My chapter outline can run 20 single spaced pages. It includes scene sketches, snatches of dialog, notes on character emotions and motivations…it’s almost like taking notes on the story’s play-by-play as I imagine it in my mind.

And yet, even with all that advance planning, I find that the story frequently doesn’t pan out exactly as I plan.

I figured out why.

Let me explain: my sweetheart just returned from climbing Long’s Peak last weekend. For those of you who don’t know, Long’s Peak is one of the toughest non-technical climbs in the Rocky Mountains. It’s also an exceptionally long hike, where you have to circle a number of ridges, pick your way through an immense boulder field, and then traverse a skinny bit of trail aptly called the Narrows.

If you take a wrong turn along the way, you’ll find yourself at an impassable cliff, sheer rock face, or some other insurmountable obstacle. Luckily, today’s hikers have cairns marking the way for them—but even so, only about 3 out of every 10 people who attempt the climb actually reach the summit. It’s a really tough hike.

Imagine what it was like for the first people who tried to climb Long’s Peak. With no cairns or trail markers, they must have had to backtrack and try new directions again…and again…and again…and again.
I think that’s what writing is like. At least, for me :). Maybe I’ll get more of a bird’s-eye view of my stories with experience—but for now, writing involves a bit of trial and error!

Happy writing!

:) Cheryl

[“W of Long’s Peak” courtesy of eggheadsherpa at Flickr Commons]

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home