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NaNoWriMo Aftermath (AKA: WTF Did I Write This November??)

So, another November (and NaNoWriMo) has come and gone.  Many words were written.  To borrow my ML's words, "Many good words were written... we hope."

Well... there's a draft...

I won't say how good it is.

(*cue crickets*)

Yeah, it's that bad.  I mean, if I decided I was going to finally vomit a novel all over some pages and simply hope for the best I can honestly tell you I succeeded.  I sincerely hope that this draft never, ever, sees the light of day because it's that painful to read over.

Now, I'm not saying it's a complete loss...

(*cue second round of crickets*)

... But I definitely need to completely rewrite and replot this for the future draft to make any sort of remote sense.

But that's what a first draft is for.  Even when writing a series, you have to at least get something onto the paper (even if figuratively here - most writers use computers) so that you know what you've written and to have something to even work with.  If I didn't have even this nonsensical fever dream of a first draft that I now have to cut, trim, organize and pick through I'd have nothing but scattered notes to work with.

Which means I'd have to write a draft anyway.

Which also means I'd be right back at the beginning.

Here's the thing about first drafts.  They suck.  That's their job.  Another great author of a classic once said, "First drafts are when you tell yourself the story.  Write now, edit later."  I might be mixing a few quotes together into a Franken-quote here... not sure... but the point still stands.  The really hard part is over.  I've told myself the story.  It's down, and it's done.  Now I get to pull apart that bird and get to the meat.

Wait, what?

I think that was a reminder that the US Thanksgiving was also during November (or that another day of turkey massacre is coming up... or I'm hungry because I missed supper in the writing frenzy...)

Anyway... the illustration still works.  Your plans and ideas is that uncooked turkey.  Your first draft is the roasted turkey.  Now it's time to add in and refine all the stuffing and fixings.  (Now I'm really hungry...)

Alternatively, you can think of it like a house or a sculpture.  The first draft is the bones, the rough shape.  The revising process is putting on the roof, the windows, and the outer shell.

There will still be work to do and refining to be done, but right now let's weatherproof the plot and character development.

The first draft is like that framework.  You've built something rather than leaving it a pile of building materials on the ground and a blueprint in your hand.  No one is going to see the frame but you and your specially chosen team to help build the house.  People will, logically, know the frame is there but once you've put up the roof, and other aspects to weatherproof the draft (known as development editing and revisions - it's the stage of writing where plot holes are sealed and closed up, characters are made consistent.  Big sweeping changes... changes that "weatherproof" your novel later) people will sense the work done (much like, in a house, how people feel how solid the foundation is by not feeling any sway in the structure, squeaks in the floor, or draughts through the windows!) but not be able to put their finger on what needed to be done to get it to that point.

The site still looks like a frightful mess... much like your novel.

Or, in my case, much like Red Sails does right now.  It's not ready for anyone else to see because it's literally just a hole in the ground with a brick basement and a bunch of sticks that could be walls eventually.

There are words... many words.  Maybe even good words... or they will be eventually.

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