Fill in the Blanks

I finally did it. I wrote several chapters of crap. 

No really. This is a good thing. Stick with me.

Remember when I said there were two things that caused me to be a slow writer? Well, one of them is the bite-sized pieces. With every scene, all I can see is the entire picture.

In life, when I’m in the middle of deep thought, or talking on the phone, I don’t notice the details around me. I don’t pay attention to how the carpet feels under my bare feet, or the cold tile. If there are wood floors, I don’t pay attention to the color of the grain or if the wood creaks as I step. In the middle of something, I don’t pay attention if the place smells like cookies baking or coffee brewing (okay, maybe cookies). My mind doesn’t think about the color and shape of furniture when I sit down to have a conversation with a friend.

When I’m writing, the same thing happens. I see the bigger picture, not the details. I know what I want my characters to feel or say, where I want them to do it, and why. But, what does a room look like, or a restaurant or an office building? If the characters are outdoors, what season is it? Is the sun shining? Is it hazy or raining? Is the weather making an impact on the scene? Is it nighttime with a full or crescent moon?

Not to mention, what are the characters doing while they speak or think? Twirling hair? Pacing? Folding arms? Does someone have bulging eyes? Perfectly groomed hair, or is it messy? Who is short, tall, skinny or plump?

I get stuck trying to figure out the details and I either don’t write at all, or I keep backspacing.

That is why I’m happy to announce that I finally wrote several chapters of crap. You see, my WIP novel has Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. I finished the first part by not stopping to try and fill in those details. I just wrote what was happening between my characters. This is good, because the scenes are written, and now I can go back and fill in those details.

I normally feel as if I’m a terrible writer if I don’t have the details along the way, which causes me to start and stop constantly. This time, I just let loose and wrote crap. Now, we’ll see how I do when I fill in the blanks. I want to get Part One cleaned up before I get to the other two parts, otherwise I’ll have it on my mind and won’t be able to get through what comes next.

Wish me luck.

Are you able to fill in the details in your writing or even your blog on the first go around? If so, please share your secret.

 

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28 comments

  1. I like your “new” approach, especially since I recognize myself in your “old” one!. I’m sure it takes discipline to do what you’ve done. I admire you for this/that and hope to someday find a similar amount of discipline in myself.

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    1. Thank you for the nice comment. This is the first time I’ve been able to do this. Who knows if I’ll be able to continue this effort when I start Part 2 of the novel. Heh. I’m still editing these rough draft chapters. 😛

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

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  2. Oh well done! I have the same problem as you and my first draft is progressing painfully slowly, although I do finally have an outline sorted. I put in far too much detail from the start and I am a dreadful self-editor, constantly making changes as I go along. I wish I could just get the ideas down quickly and remember that I will need to redraft it several times anyway!

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    1. Hi E R. I wish I could get myself to do outlines. I’ve tried and they don’t work, so I just write notes. I can’t even get through a first draft for want of details, but this time I finally got through the first draft of Part One.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and process. Seems most of us have struggled with writing at some point.

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  3. Congrats, Lori, on writing several chapters! As for your question, I’m a firm believer in messy first drafts. I don’t add details, nor do I read what I’ve written. I wait until the end to go back and revise and add details. In that messy first draft, I might add notes to myself in the text, reminding myself to go back and fix things.

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    1. This is good to know from a good writer such as yourself, L. I also wrote notes within the text to remind myself what bits I needed to add. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. It’s nearly impossible to get everything down the first time around. First drafts are for getting all those messy thoughts onto the paper, in whatever order they come to us. Even if we follow outlines, first drafts need plenty of tending to. Once we get them down, we can add the descriptive and sensory details later. So congrats on writing the “crap.” It means you’re in great shape and making progress!

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    1. I’ve never quite written a rough draft this rough before, but I’m relieved I finally got out the basics. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Carrie. The support feels great.

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  5. Lori, I think this is called a first draft – and they’re always rough! 😀😃 I revise all my writing whether for stories, novel or blog. You’re doing right and good luck with ‘cleaning up’ part one but don’t get too stuck there and carry on with your momenentum with the rest of the book! Just my advice speaking from my personal experience.

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    1. Hi Annika. Well, I think this is the roughest draft I’ve ever written. It’s more like the rough draft of a rough draft. LOL. I appreciate you sharing your advice. Thank you. 🙂

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  6. I always just write whatever comes out, and then I leave it for at least a few hours (overnight or even a day or two is better) before coming back to it. I’m able to see mistakes, nonsensicalities, thinking errors and all kinds of other things.

    Good luck! 🙂

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  7. Sounds like you’re on a roll, Lori — a writer with a plan. Wishing you the best of luck wtih your new book, but at the rate you’re going, I doubt you’ll need it. You are in control!

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    1. Hi Ann. I’ve been writing this novel on and off for years now, so I don’t know how much of a roll I’m on. LOL But, hopefully it will continue. Thanks, Ann.

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  8. I’m not a detail person. I follow some writers whose descriptions are so luscious. I try to emulate them. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Getting something down is a great start even if the finished piece doesn’t look anything like it!

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          1. An outline can be quite sparse. As long as you know where you are heading, you’ll get there, or at least somewhere near there. Some of these characters get a mind of their own and it can be hard to control them.

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    1. Yeah, I’m a messy writer alright. I’m also a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. Been told I should do outlines, but I struggle with those. Thanks for sharing your process. 🙂

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