This past week, I gave up on the fast draft course I was taking. But since the course instructor was mostly absent, it wasn’t much of a loss, other than the thirty-five dollars I paid for it. I’d been hoping for some regular tips and encouragement on increasing writing speed and outwitting the editor; instead, we were all on our own, posting our daily page counts and wondering where the instructor was.
But everything is a learning experience, and I’m hoping I can try some fast draft writing on my own after Christmas, this time using the tips someone in the course posted from Rachel Aaron’s site that I’ve mentioned before.
I think another problem was that I may not have done enough brainstorming and research before I started writing Ygerna’s story. I realize that one of the principles of the fast draft method is not to look things up while you’re writing. Instead, you make a note of whatever it is you need to add later and just barrel ahead. But by the time I quit, it felt like every other sentence was a note to myself about something I either had to research or look up in the other two books to make sure I have everything consistent.
As a result, I was beginning to feel frustrated with the project. So I put it aside, temporarily, and now I am working on a novella / short novel version of short story I wrote many years ago, City of Glass. A lot of critique partners had told me that it didn’t work as a story, that it wanted to be longer, but I didn’t want to believe them. I always have so many projects going at any given time, after all. But after I decided to put Ygerna on a back burner for a while, I was going through my list of potential projects, and this one suddenly spoke to me. It’s a story about a glass-maker on Murano who makes a prince a glass slipper — and ends up with a marriage proposal. But since she has no interest in marrying some conceited noble, she has to figure out a way of getting out of the situation. It doesn’t help that the glass-makers of Murano are forbidden to leave Venice, for fear they might share trade secrets …
And now the writing is flowing again. I’m treating the old short story like an extended outline, adding all the parts all my writing friends said were missing, deepening the characterization, adding more detail. Until now, this version is coming in at about three times as long as the original story. And I’m having fun again!
Once I’m done with City of Glass, I’ll get back to Ygerna, but I don’t think I’ll experiment with fast drafting on that one anymore. The notes on the things I need to look up are often details I really need to know to continue with the story, not just window-dressing. TI will have to allow Ygerna whatever time it needs.
I hope everyone is winding up the year in style and has plenty of successes to look back on!