An interesting thought occurred to me recently whilst pushing on with getting a first draft of my new novel down. The thought was that whilst I was trying to get my first draft down as quickly as possible new ideas and plot points kept occurring to me. Although I write with a kind of outline – especially for the first half of the book, so I do not get stuck - I also like to leave myself open to new directions as I write. And writing as fast as possible for first draft seems to be best for me.
Some of the ideas that occurred to me were good ones that seemed to have come up epiphany-like from the ‘girls in the basement’, but should I stop and incorporate them? I wanted to do just that but it meant going back and introducing something much earlier in the draft in order for it to make sense. Which, in turn, meant that I wasn’t actually moving the story forward. But the extra material did add more depth (or a subplot) to the story. Great you might say…But doing this kind of toing and froing took time (when I was trying to write fast) and it also risked me becoming confused as to where I actually was in the story. Plus, although I had a fair idea of where the plot would eventually end up, I had no clear idea of the ending so introducing more story lines could potentially jeopardise my entire plot if I wasn’t careful. So, what to do?
I read somewhere that a good idea was to keep a revision sheet alongside you as you write so that you can jot down the idea as it occurs to you. Also to make a note of where the material needed to be introduced (approx.) and then continue to write the draft as if the plot point was already incorporated. Lately I have been trying this method with my present book and it is surprisingly easy. I know I will have much more work to do in second draft but once I have the main story down I don’t feel the pressure to rush through that. In fact I like to take my time and re-consider everything that has gone into the story.
Anyway this is my best tip of the year!
Do you have any good tips to pass on to others to try?