#ThisIsHowINovel is coming to a close. I’m kinda sad. This has been fun and hopefully it has been informative, it certainly has been for me. I now have a record of my process to use as a touchstone. Hopefully, that will make all of this a bit easier.
So today we’re going to talk about the Zero Draft. What’s a Zero Draft? Well, it means different things to different people, but for me, the zero draft is the part of the writing process where the actual writing begins. This is when I take my handy-dandy list of 30 or so scenes and cherry pick the ones I want to write first.
Me, myself, personally? Il like to begin at the end.
And by the end I mean THE ABSOLUTE LAST SCENE OF THE BOOK.
You see, it’s easier for me to get to the end if I know the ending. For my current WIP, Having It Both Ways, I had few sentences–
“You’re gonna spank me when we get home, aren’t you?”
Elijah furrowed his brow then said, “No. I won’t spank you. Fuck you within an inch of your life? Yes. But no spanking.”
I squirmed in my seat when he closed the door; biting back a giggle of fear and a shiver of delicious trepidation.
So yeah, that bit of dialogue made me wonder, how did these two get here after the way I ended Everything She Never Wanted
? And that is when I begin to write the last chapter. I guess at this point it’s pretty obvious that I’m not a linear writer. I just dive in where ever and pull it all together in the end. Starting at the beginning creates a lot of anxiety for me. Trying to find the perfect way to start or the perfect place to start immediately leads to analysis paralysis. Skipping around in the book freed me from that. Made me stop searching for “the perfect hook”. I just write all the parts that I think will be fun to write before I get down to the nuts and bolts.
I think the main thing to remember is to keep the zero draft really simple.
Some scenes have as little as fifty words while others are full chapters, written out completely. Once I have put something in each scene, I compile what I have in Scrivener
, print it out and make notes on what needs to happen. This is probably the longest part of the process and my least favorite, to be honest. I know. I’m that weird sort of writer who hates the writing part of writing. Putting the scenes in my head into words is just SO HARD. Rewriting and revising is what makes me happiest. Scrivener has literally been a lifesaver for me in that respect. I can add and move around large chunks of text without making major changes to the overall manuscript. I also keep my series or novel notes in there so I have them on hand to reference whenever I need them. If you haven’t jumped on the Scrivener
bandwagon yet, you should get that in your life. Both Scrivener
are invaluable to me.
In total, I probably write three drafts before I feel ready to send the book to betas and depending on their responses, I might do a pretty big rewrite after that. I’ve been known to make changes in the manuscript three days before I hit publish!I don’t like to work that way, but sometimes that’s how things pan out.
So there ya have it! My writing process from character development to zero draft! There is a tad bit more that I could write about the revision process. If you guys are interested in hearing about that, drop me a line in the comments. Otherwise, I’m gonna start plotting my #NaNoWrimo project! And tell me if you’re gonna Nano! Maybe we can be accountability buddies!