Friday, February 24, 2012

Voila! C'est fini!

Excuse the French. I saw The Artist tonight.

In more American parlance:

OH. EM. GEE.

I finished my Shitty First Draft!

It is gloriously confused, rife with telling, rambling, with mixed tenses, horrible grammar, half-assed research, definite out-of-character moments, repetition of the word "indeed," and no discernible plotline.

It was written as a dragging piece of New Angle on Old Idea which then fell to lacklusterness last year, pumped up during NaNoWrimo, and finally bloody well finished today.

Of course, by "finished," I mean that I'm tired of said draft at the moment--plus, I'm reading some blogs and ebooks and things on the craft of writing and revising and other books on 18th century Britain, so...

And I have a new first line and scene written in bullet points in my email.


If you don't know, the Shitty First Draft was coined by Anne Lamott in her book, Bird by Bird. Here's a link to the essay.

The first draft is the child's draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the char­acters wants to say, "Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?," you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you're supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go--but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.

Shitty First Draft stats:


  • 351 pages total (I think this makes this the longest continuous piece I've ever written)
  • 44 chapters
  • 94, 927 words (Thanks NaNo!)

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