I hate first drafts. Really, really hate ’em. Mainly because I have to force myself to finish them. I’m a pantser at heart and so my first draft is ALL about discovery. Who are these people that I’m writing about? What’s their background? What’s their conflict? etc. etc. Usually I have a basic plan as to the first three chapters, then it’ll get a little hazy about what happens then. I mean, I usually know how the relationship develops, it’s more the how and what do the characters do to help that along. Keeping your characters active and making decisions and taking action is something that’s quite difficult for me (see Jane’s post here on active and passive characters) in that I know they need to do something, it’s figuring out what that gets me sometimes.
Anyway, for first drafts I tend to get part way through and I’ll think what do they do now? The black moment’s coming up so how do I get them there? Usually by this stage I’m at the ‘this story sucks so I may as well give up on it now’ point. And there will another bright, shiny idea standing seducitvely in the wings, beckoning saucily to me. An idea that is waaaay better than the pile of crap I’m writing now….
But no. If I want to at least pretend to be the professional I some hope I will be, I have to be disciplined and actually finish the story. So I press on and make myself write through the saggy stage. Actually what I find works for this point in the story is to jump ahead from the bit that is bogging me down. For the Frenchman I have a ‘meanwhile, back at the mansion’ where I jump from the dinner they were having straight to the black moment. Which is my favourite part of the stor