Summer Writing (aka: The Second First Draft)

I have been having so much fun writing lately! I am chugging along on my new novel-in-progress, keeping myself busy and productive until I get my revision letter for THE CREATION OF HALLELUJAH CALHOUN. And after getting off to a sputtering start, I am now really happy with this new project, which is exciting. I just passed 28,000 words, so I'm about halfway through my first draft! Part of my spurt of productivity is that now that I've found my groove with this story, I can't seem to get the scenes down fast enough. Another element at play is that I want to have as much of a first draft done as I can before I shift focus to revise HALLELUJAH with my editor, so that when I've finished working on HALLELUJAH in a few months, this new book will be ready for me to jump back in. And I have to give some credit to my wonderful Write Night friends, who have banded together to do our own version of Camp NaNoWriMo this month, which includes digital s'mores, '80s music, and a LOT of encouragement for each other's various writing and revising goals.

If you're a regular blog reader, you might remember me posting about my first-draft blues back in early May. The funny thing is, I've completely reworked the plot of the book since then—and I'm pretty sure in retrospect that the main reason I was having trouble launching into that first draft is that I knew on some level, deep in my gut, the plot and voice weren't quite right. I actually got 30,000 words into that version, all the while feeling that it wasn't working yet but if I could just keep going, I'd figure it out. It took a well-timed comment from my agent, after I sent her some sample chapters, for me to set that version aside and move in a different direction.

So that synopsis of the book in that post from May? Thrown out the window. I'm still working on a book about a teen ballet dancer with body image issues, but it's pretty much completely different. And I am so excited about it, I can't stand it. Yesterday, in the shower, I finally figured out what one of the climactic scenes will be, and I skipped ahead and started writing that this morning. It was the final puzzle piece that I needed, at least for the first draft. (Of course, during revisions many, many more puzzle pieces will appear. I feel like the first draft is one of those kiddie puzzles with the big wooden pieces that can obviously only fit in one spot. Revising is like suddenly shifting to a puzzle with several hundred pieces, and it's a picture of nature where for a while you're just looking at lots and lots of leaves...)

And I'm going to be a tease now and NOT tell you the new direction for the book! One, because I want to keep it under wraps a little longer, and two, because I shared my first vision for this new book and that...didn't work out so well. Until I share the new idea with my agent and get feedback from some writer friends, there's still that lingering worry that maybe I've gone off on another tangent... Such is the life of a writer!

Anyone else first-drafting out there? Have you ever scrapped half a draft after having to admit that it wasn't panning out? Did you rework the same idea, or start something completely new? Inquiring (first-drafting) minds want to know!