Thursday, May 21, 2009

First Draft

I've been working on the first draft of my novel and struggling a bit. Although I know where the novel is headed and I have a vague idea of who will be in the novel, getting the first draft on screen is arduous for me.

Today, I pulled a book off my shelf called, "The Passionate Accurate Story" by Carol Bly. I reread her chapter on first drafts and it's going to help me when I sit down to write tomorrow.

Here are some of Carol Bly's ideas:

First write a values list. Write down two goals or values which make life good. Write down two goals or values which cause injustice and suffering or lessening of joy. Write down two missing goals or behaviors. As a child, you thought that grown-up life would have these. Now that you are adult, you don't see them around. List two injustices which you see about you and should keep an eye on, even on your wedding day.

Your values list, says Bly, will be something to return to when you get stuck in your first draft. Returning to it will remind you what you want to write about and will also help you write literature that matters.

Bly writes that the first draft should be writing without effort to shape. You can develop first draft by asking questions: what else did this character do? Where was all this? How did these people feel?

The skills of generation are questioning...and inviting the unconscious to join. Be certain not to cut anything.

Follow the strong feeling. Follow the intensity wherever it takes you. If you feel no intensity, pull out your Values Listing.