This is a writing process post for those of you uninterested in that crap.
But okay, I’m declaring my shitty first draft done. I feel like a manuscript is like a paper mache sculpture. Your shitty first draft is just the balloons and the chicken wire and the interior supports that will not be seen in later drafts. It is the big underlying shape. And not even necessarily the final shape. It’s like you’re saying “Here are all the things I think need to happen and roughly how I think they need to happen.”
This time, that took me from roughly November to yesterday to do–about five months. I’m up over 80,000 words, but I have two endings, so it will come down in count some when that gets straightened out and go up in count when other stuff gets added. I don’t think the number of words you have in your first draft really tells you much about the number of words you’ll end up with in your final draft.
This second draft is going to be weird. I spent a lot of time in my first draft just floundering in ugly ways to try to understand what was motivating people and why. The second draft is going to mean straightening out a lot of the contradictions that come up from writing while floundering. It’s also going to be my first attempt to see if everything that needs to be in there is in there. And to see if the voice is working.
I’m very concerned about the voice and I’m not sure I’m anywhere near where I’d like to be.
But we’ll see. It took me five months to make an enormous mess. Soon enough we’ll see if I can pull it into anything.