I didn’t post anything on this blog last week. I’ve been working on writing a novel and not making too much progress lately. There have been too many things interfering. Last week I got a chance to work on it rather steadily and I just didn’t want to stop to do anything else—therefore my not posting on the blog. The novel was going well and I didn’t want to interfere with that. I hope to have the first draft done by the first of the year or shortly thereafter.
Drafts is the correct term to be used when referring to the stages of writing through which a novel goes—draft 1, 2, 3, etc. . . . final (or is it?). Lately, I’ve been thinking that layers is more descriptive of the process. It’s rather similar to the way one does a painting, laying out a base of some sort, sometimes sketching out the entire work, or sometimes just starting, then going over with subsequent changes, adding this, removing or overpainting that, and all the while facing the possibility of losing the spontaneity of the work.
In the movie, Finding Forester, an author is giving a young writer advice on writing. Don’t think in setting down the first draft, the young man is told. The time for thinking will come later. I think that’s pretty much the way it is. The first draft or layer comes from inspiration—one’s muse. Subsequent drafts or layers are the place for correcting or refining. Then comes the problem of knowing when to quit. When is a work ‘finished’? When you’re satisfied with it? Does that ever happen?
Much on the same subject, I was once asked which of my pieces of writing is my favorite. The answer to that is easy: it’s the one I’m working on. After that comes another one, another favorite—for a while, anyway.