I had hoped to finish the zero draft yesterday on the novella I’ve been working on. My target was to write 10,000 words in eleven days. I thought that would be enough to finish the draft. Turns out I was wrong. I hit the target, but am still short of the end, although I am very close. All that is left is the finishing the final climax and the denouement. Then the real work begins.
I’m mostly a pantser, meaning I write into the dark, not from an outline. Another term for this type of writer is a “putter-inner”, a term I first heard from Dean Wesley Smith. For longer projects I tend to slide slightly from a pantser to an outliner on that continuum, but I am staunchly a “putter-inner.”
What exactly does that mean? Simply, I drop notes as I go along and then in revision go back and fix something or add something I know needs to be there. Other writers actually fix these things before continuing on (“taker-outers”, since in revision they need to remove stuff, while “putter-inners” need to add stuff). For example, I may have it in the beginning that it’s night time, but by the middle of the story I decide no, it has to be during the day for a critical plot point (and yes I’ve done that specifically).
The result of this method is that revision is workand can often take as long to go from a zero draft to a first draft as it took to write the zero draft. That’s what I mean by the zero draft, the story is done, but is full of notes on things to fix and fill-in. The first draft is when all those things are taken care of.
This novella in particular is going to be an exercise in patience and dogged determination. Too many things changed out from under me as I went along and now there is a mountain of notes to sort through.
But I’m getting close; Like my dog, I can smell that prize just out of sight!