Monday, November 12, 2007

COVER TO COVER: How much is too much

Rach asked a great question in response to my layering/editing post:

Just wondering about how long your mss are when you finish your first draft! And whether that means adding words or taking them away.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist so my first draft is pretty much close to the finished product.
What I mean by this is that I write the book consecutively, from start to finish, without jumping around to various scenes.
I try to make it the best it can be, without getting stuck on the exact word or making sure a description is spot on.
For these, I highlight in bright green so when I start the layering and editing process, my eyes are instantly drawn to the word that needs to be tweaked or the paragraph that needs more description.
Then I go through a rough mental checklist (many of the points I listed in the previous post) to really tighten the story.

So my first draft tends to be pretty much spot on with word count. And it usually means adding words with the layering.

Please remember this is only one person's viewpoint.
I know authors who move from scene to scene, who might write the end of the book before the middle, who get inspired by a particular scene and will write that first before the beginning.

I'm a bit of a plotter and like to have the book roughly outlined while I'm writing, sometimes before I start (see earlier Cover to Cover post) so for me, writing in chronological order and having the book pretty close to my outline tends to make the book flow and not need a lot of tweaking.

Whether you have to cut words or add them to your first draft, it doesn't matter. Making the story the best it can be is what it's all about :)


Rachael Blair said...

Thanks for that Nic, it's always good to see how different people work. I'm half way through NaNoWriMo and almost half way through the book and just feel that it might fall a little short of the word count... but never mind, I'll just keep plodding on.

Nicola Marsh said...

Short is fine.
Layering should bump up your word count :)