I'm deep into revisions (okay, partial rewrite/partial revision) of my paranormal romance so that I can resubmit it on query. I basically hacked off the first nine chapters and wrote new ones, and now I'm integrating the back half of the novel so that it coincides with the new stuff I wrote. The story is much better now, which is awesome, and I have a lot more confidence in it as a whole.
But that's neither here nor there.
What I was thinking about this morning (as I wasted time dilly-dallying instead of doing my day job) was how writers write. Lots of writers write fat in their first draft and then pare out the stuff they don't need when they revise and edit. I tend to do the opposite. I write lean in the first draft, just to get the bones of the story on the page, then in revision I go in and fatten up the line count, adding in more character development, description of setting, etc. I can't spend forever in the first draft trapped in each scene spewing loads of detail. I need to get in and get out and move on before I lose the urgency of the story.
There's not a lot of foreplay in my first drafts, they're kind of wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am.
So it interests me to know how other writers approach their drafts, since no two writers are the same, and there's no "right way" to write. Some people write it out longhand, which I can't even begin to fathom not only because I have wicked tendinitis, but it would take ages to get the words on the page and before I got to the end of the scene I'd forget what the hell I wanted to say in the first place. So I don't understand the appeal of actual pen on paper.
And lots of people are plotters, a subject I think I've discussed before. For me, whether or not to plot depends on the story. Most of the time I just wing it, although I actually plotted this paranormal romance and now I'm throwing out half of what I plotted and starting over, so clearly that plotting effort was worthless. But for a lot of writers it works. And I can see how for some of the projects on my "to write" list plotting is going to be necessary.
I often wonder how many rounds of revision most writers go through, too. I mean, this paranormal romance has gone through way too many, but it's my first novel, so I think that's to be expected as I find my writing way. I would assume that the more practice a writer has at writing, the easier it is to see the finish line and streamline the process so that it takes fewer rounds of editing. Of course, I could be totally wrong about that, but I can easily see how I could have cut several of my read-throughs and, in fact, as I've been writing the first draft of my second novel I'm consciously avoiding lots of the same kinds of errors I fixed in preliminary editing rounds of novel one, saving myself precious time.
As I head into the home stretch of this rewrite/revision, and as I try to find ways to avoid doing my day job (like blogging), writing is always in the back of my mind, lurking there, because it's what I'd rather be doing. And I wonder about other writers' processes.
What kind of drafter are you? Fat or lean? Do you go through excessive rounds of edits or have you written enough that you're able to limit the edits? I won't even ask the plotter vs pantser question because it's overasked.
Okay. I've wasted enough time. I need to go back to my day job, as unhappy as that makes me. Here's to the day (in the hopefully not too distant future) when my day job is writing....