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Ugawa
11-30-2008, 11:49 PM
Now i've hit the almost 40k mark in my novel, it seems everything I write is coming out like drivel. I know this is only a first draft, so it's not going to be great, but I know for a fact things weren't coming out this C*** in the first 40k.

Does anyone else have this problem? I don't want to take a break, because i've been working on this WIP for almost three months now and just want to get the first draft finished.

Any ideas that could help me, or anyone else with this problem :(.

Thank you

XX

RedScylla
11-30-2008, 11:52 PM
You're allowed to write poo. You are. Really. Sometimes you have to write through the crap to get to the good stuff.

scarletpeaches
11-30-2008, 11:53 PM
Absolutely not, it doesn't matter one bit. That's what re-writes are for.

I speed-write my first drafts...or try to. At the moment I'm at...lessee...54,030 and I started on 1st November. I'm aiming to get to 75k by midnight next Sunday evening.

Many people edit as they go, but my thoughts are - that would slow me down. I'd get too caught up in making it perfect before moving on to the next scene. And I prefer to edit when I'm able to look at the piece of work as a whole, which I cannot do until I type or write 'The End'.

Now sure, my first drafts are messy, baggy affairs with typos, continuity errors, deliberate continuity snafus [Just this afternoon I decided the heroine needed to be wearing something different so her outfit changed from one chapter to the next.], telling-not-showing, adverbs, you name it.

Thinking of it this way might help: for me, the first draft isn't about writing. It's about storytelling.

I get the story out of my head and onto paper at speed and then, when I'm on the second draft, that's when I write. The storytelling becomes storyshowing.

So no, you write crap if you want. You can't edit what you haven't written.

Oh, and yes - what I'm writing at the moment? Rubbish. I think so anyway. But at least it's done.

Noah Body
11-30-2008, 11:57 PM
Sure, all the time. Once the honeymoon period wears off, you come to realize that writing a novel, no matter what its genre, is a lot more than scene A leading to situation B for character 1. In other words, it becomes a lot of work, and when the initial glow wears off, it generally leads to some degree of professional tension. :)

Just keep plowing on. Keep tickling the ivories, and when you get a first draft, rewrite it.

The Lonely One
12-01-2008, 12:00 AM
I think what's important here is the final draft you send off to an agent (and then the actual final draft that hits shelves). However you get there means nothing to anyone but yourself, so do what is most conducive to your getting to that "final" stage. I try to avoid it, but I do end up doing micro-editing while I write.

Someone can tell me "that's wrong, write crap and then re-write" or "if you don't outline your story will suck" -- no offense to those who do those things -- but really it doesn't matter a rat's ass(k me no more questions, tell me no more lies, etc.) if your MS and their MS end up at the same place.

job
12-01-2008, 12:16 AM
I think what's important here is the final draft you send off to an agent

That is it in a nutshell.

You start with a blank screen.
You end up with a submission-ready manuscript.

There are fifty of ways to get from that beginning to that end.
Experiment. Listen to sugestions. Try this. Try that.
Find the path that suits you.

Congratulations on 40K of lousy first draft. This is a fine achievment.

Nagoyaka Aikouka
12-01-2008, 02:04 AM
Just adding in another chime of "I agree" to the well orchestrated chorus above me.

The more you push to get to the end of that first draft, the better off you usually are in the end. When the first draft gets finished quickly, even if you think a lot of what you've written is complete drivel, especially toward the end, it's better to just get it done.

What ends up happening as an alternative can be even more devastating.

If you try to make everything perfect on the first run-through, you end up shooting yourself in the foot. You will get sick of the project much more quickly, and while you end up with five or six really solid chapters, you just can't will yourself to continue because it's taken a month to get to this point. Then you end up losing an idea that could have been really big and really successful, simply because you were too proud to think you could write some crap along the way.

The first draft is meant to be a draft, nothing more, nothing less. Try to keep that in mind, and don't worry about what you're actually coming up with until you go back and do your editing.

Jerry B. Flory
12-01-2008, 02:17 AM
If I'm writing my drivel I toss out everything. If I hit a block I go to another page entitled "Sewer of Consciousness" and type gibberish until actual coherent thought shows up on the page.
It's all drivel.
A finished work is organized drivel.
When you write you are a writer. When you rewrite you are an editor. Those worlds are as different as student and teacher in an English comp course.

xiaotien
12-01-2008, 02:37 AM
let me introduce you to my mantra :

i am allowed to write utter poo.
i am allowed to write utter poo.

a poorly written novel is better than
a never written one.
that's what revising is for! but you've
got to have something to revise!

/bootay shake!

scarletpeaches
12-01-2008, 02:39 AM
Further to that...!

The only novel which is sure to never be published is the one which is never written.

blacbird
12-01-2008, 03:12 AM
Robert Ludlum made an entire lucrative career out of writing this way. It even continues after his death.

caw

Teena
12-01-2008, 04:05 AM
Drivel is ALOT more common than really great stuff... Keep going!!

Garpy
12-01-2008, 04:11 AM
One other thing to bear in mind is that if you recognise what you're writing is poo it goes to show that;

a) your internal editor is wide awake and paying attention, and
b) you're a writer that can up his/her game.

I've come across one too many wannabee writers who insist they only ever write 'final' drafts, and cannot, will not, take on board feedback. Seriously...if you suddenly find that you're really enjoying reading your own stuff and can't find a way to rephrase it better, then you should probably give up writing.

Akuma
12-01-2008, 04:21 AM
One other thing to bear in mind is that if you recognise what you're writing is poo it goes to show that;

a) your internal editor is wide awake and paying attention, and
b) you're a writer that can up his/her game.

I've come across one too many wannabee writers who insist they only ever write 'final' drafts, and cannot, will not, take on board feedback. Seriously...if you suddenly find that you're really enjoying reading your own stuff and can't find a way to rephrase it better, then you should probably give up writing.

I can just see Shakespeare smacking his forehead on his desk over and over again, saying, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"

Nagoyaka Aikouka
12-01-2008, 04:29 AM
Gives new meaning to the terns "headdesk" and "facepalm" when you put Shakespeare's face on the individual performing the actions. *laughs*

blacbird
12-01-2008, 04:42 AM
I can just see Shakespeare smacking his forehead on his desk over and over again, saying, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"

Shakespeare at work:

"Cry havoc, and let slip the pigs of war" . . . No, not pigs, whatever doth beset mine enfeebled brain . . . "cats of war" . . . Ah! I am undone by mere mortal words, more than man canst truly know! . . . "elephants of war", as did great Hannibal himself . . . No! No! No! a thousand times No! Ah, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its petty pace from day to day, and never shall I finish this accurséd play . . . "cows" yes, "cows of war" . . . No! by all the demons of Dante's Hell, no! . . . Alas!

caw

ishtar'sgate
12-01-2008, 04:50 AM
I envy you guys. I cannot give myself permission to write drivel. If I know it stinks I chuck it out. (Of course I don't always know and my editor has to tell me :)) I'm not saying that my first draft is anywhere near perfect, far from it, but my writing improves as I go along and less and less of it gets filed in the round filing cabinet. More power to you if it works for you. I hate rereading my previous days work and thinking it sucks. I can't leave it alone. I have to fix it before moving on.

xiaotien
12-01-2008, 05:59 AM
i was like that when i used to write poetry
and short stories. then i tried doing the novel thing,
and i wrote the first 40 pages, and revised revised
revised those 40 pages. i didn't move forward.

so i used nano to make myself just write.
no looking back. i wrote 35k that month.

that's how i'm tackling my sequel.
i'm barreling forward until i get to the end.
then i'll revise.

/bootay shake!

if i threw away pages every time i thought
it sucked, i wouldn't have had a novel to sell!

Mad Queen
12-01-2008, 07:44 AM
I only write drivel when I don't outline. When I outline, I'll still have to edit the text later, maybe even chuck it away, but it's so much better than I don't see the point of 'just writing' anymore. I'm just going to hurt my fingers (I already have RSI from typing too much).

tehuti88
12-01-2008, 07:43 PM
I'm one of those few people who can't allow myself to write drivel; if I'm not writing it the best I can the first time then it's just a waste of time. BUT I realize that most people aren't like this.

Just wanted to suggest that perhaps what you THINK is drivel isn't nearly as bad as it seems. I know I've had times when the writing came so hard, I thought for sure that what I was writing sucked (even if it was the best I could do), then later on after the hard work was done, I looked back and it wasn't so bad. It just seemed bad because it was so hard to work through it.

I can't say for sure that's so in your case, but it's a thought. :)

Noah Body
12-01-2008, 09:15 PM
Robert Ludlum made an entire lucrative career out of writing this way. It even continues after his death.

caw

Yeah, but Bobby once helped push my pal's car out of a snow bank after we slid into it one fine winter day in Connecticut's Gold Coast. He did it one handed, because he had a mixed drink in the other. Gotta respect a guy who can do something like that and not spill a single drop, unless it was down his gullet.

Alpha Echo
12-01-2008, 09:22 PM
Absolutely not, it doesn't matter one bit. That's what re-writes are for.

I speed-write my first drafts...or try to. At the moment I'm at...lessee...54,030 and I started on 1st November. I'm aiming to get to 75k by midnight next Sunday evening.

Many people edit as they go, but my thoughts are - that would slow me down. I'd get too caught up in making it perfect before moving on to the next scene. And I prefer to edit when I'm able to look at the piece of work as a whole, which I cannot do until I type or write 'The End'.

Now sure, my first drafts are messy, baggy affairs with typos, continuity errors, deliberate continuity snafus [Just this afternoon I decided the heroine needed to be wearing something different so her outfit changed from one chapter to the next.], telling-not-showing, adverbs, you name it.

Thinking of it this way might help: for me, the first draft isn't about writing. It's about storytelling.

I get the story out of my head and onto paper at speed and then, when I'm on the second draft, that's when I write. The storytelling becomes storyshowing.

So no, you write crap if you want. You can't edit what you haven't written.

Oh, and yes - what I'm writing at the moment? Rubbish. I think so anyway. But at least it's done.

I am exactly the same. My first draft comes out pretty fast. It's the rewrite that takes longer, and it's during the rewrite that my writing gets good. (haha - how's that for a great sentence...gets good...)

I know some people who revise as they write because they can't stand just letting crap sit there on the paper.

It just depends on how you roll. We all roll differently. :D

Ugawa
12-01-2008, 09:32 PM
Thank you all for your help ^^.

It has really put my mind at rest :D

XX

echnos
12-02-2008, 03:24 AM
Poo is good.
drivel is marvelous.
Utter crap is definitely permitted for the first draft...vomit those words out!
(eww, lol)

Keep going! Don't worry about what is behind, just reach that finish line!

And now I must take heed of my own advice, because I have been OBSESSING over my first chapter, which is ridiculous.

ONWARD HO!

Grin.

Dark Cyril
12-02-2008, 03:49 AM
vomit those words out!

I hereby proclaim these the greatest words ever written!

...

And they single-handedly help drive the sales of Alphabet Soup to an all time record high, saving the economy in it's time of trouble.

To once again chime in on the OP, yes, drivel is completely acceptable. Sometimes, it's hard to do, I know I still struggle with it sometimes, but the best thing you can do is just write. Eventually you'll find yourself back where you want to be and after finishing and then going back, you'll be able to find a better way from point A to point B (or whatever alpha-numeric or foreign character you decide to use :D).

If you take more than a five to fifteen minute break, all you do is increase the chances that you're going to creak to a halt on the WIP.

echnos
12-02-2008, 06:54 AM
LOL... in 40 minutes tonight at B&N, very determined to keep that eternal editor out of my head, I managed to slam down (vomit, grin) 1286 words. It was VERY VERY VERY HARD not to go back, but the scene is done and I am FIERCELY forbidding myself to go back and look at it.

IT IS SO HAAARRRDDDDD!!!

But I am very excited to have got that scene out. WHEE!!!

Will panic over it later. LOL.

(I can't claim the vomit-the-words-out as I had a mystery writing teacher who made us all do it...got the words from her. I sold that darn book...maybe there is a lesson there, one that I for one have sadly forgotten).

Yeshanu
12-02-2008, 07:29 AM
During NaNo, I started to churn out stuff I was certain was utter crap at about 35k or so. But now that I'm well past that, I can see that it's no worse than anything else I wrote during the month, and that most of it is going to stay in.

As long as your novel hasn't gone off on a tangent, keep slogging until it's done. Then, with the light of a finished story to illuminate your understanding, you will more clearly be able to see and clean up the crap.

But get a finished story out first.

BlueLucario
12-02-2008, 09:51 PM
Writing Drivel? Ir's better than nothing right? :)

James D. Macdonald
12-02-2008, 10:03 PM
Does it matter if everything is coming out like drivel?

Pop down to the bookstore and pick of a copy of The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel.

foonting
12-02-2008, 11:36 PM
I have actually enjoyed writing utter tosh most of the way through my WIP. It has made the sadly rare occasions when I think I might have written something good stand out in sharper relief!
Long live honestly written poo....It elevates writers above the verbally constipated proletariat!

ganymede_elegy
12-03-2008, 04:43 PM
I really think it's so so much better, for sanity's sake, to just keep plowing ahead and trust that you can go back later and make improvements, rather than stopping and agonizing over every sentence and scene you're writing now. I used to be one of those people who simply couldn't move on if I hadn't "perfected" everything up until that point in the story; I also had to wait until I felt truly inspired to sit down and tackle it, for fear that otherwise I'd churn out pure crap. Which meant writing probably about one day a week, or so. Now? I sit down (mostly) every day and write for as long as I can, barring other demands on my time. Much of what comes out can stand to be improved, and some of it will need to be chucked entirely, but at least it's there and I'm making progress. The truth is, writing is mostly hard work; the trick is to make it *look* like it's 100% effortless inspiration.

So yeah, in other words, basically chiming in with everyone else here :) Don't worry about writing badly; only worry if you ever stop worrying, if you ever think you're perfect and you've no room for improvement.

Hillgate
12-03-2008, 05:21 PM
Utter drivel is better than purple prose.

SPMiller
12-03-2008, 05:34 PM
Simplified overview of my writing process:

1) Generate rough first draft (drivel).
2) Delete all dross, dreck, and cruft.
3) Organize remaining text into discrete scenes with clearly-defined goal/antag/failure.
4) Rewrite.
5) Go to #2.

Notice how there's no final state. That's because my writing process never actually ends. None of my work is ever finished, though it may be "good enough".

jdkip
12-03-2008, 10:40 PM
You can't edit what you haven't written.


That about sums it up for me and the best advice I think for anyone who wants to sit down and write. Just write, you can always edit it later.

Gillhoughly
12-03-2008, 11:11 PM
It always sounds like drivel.

Sometimes it IS drivel, but you can fix it later.

"It is perfectly okay to write garbage -- as long as you edit brilliantly. In other words, until you have something down on paper (even it it's terrible) there is nothing you can improve. The audience neither needs nor gets to see the less than brilliant first draft, so they won't know you weren't brilliant all along." --C.J. Cherryh