On 5/19/2020 I finished my Draft 0, my dirty draft, of a WIP (work in progress) Fantasy. The dirty draft, which was written from the 10th to the 19th was 39,549 words. Now, almost a month later I’ve added almost 7,000 words and I’m not even through the first arc of the story. In this article I will go over my process and the content of my project.
Writing the Dirty Draft
What is a dirty draft? Basically, I’ve got a story and I’ve gotta get it pounded out on the page. So, I obsessively write, about 4,000-6,000 words a day to get the bare-bones of the plot and characters out on paper. Draft 0 is so flawed that it needs a heavy re-write, but I’ve worked through my basic character arcs and I’ve taken deep notes on what needs to be changed while writing draft 0. It’s the feel good part of the project.
To set up, I do a mood-board for each of the main characters and I write out a very short explanation of what’s going to take place. Here’s an example of my character boarding below. It consists of bare bones backstory, as well as images to inspire their character. Although I didn’t in this one, I also try to include physical ticks that they’ll do while speaking so that I can fall back on those when in doubt. This bare-bones explanation gives me plenty of room to work, but also direction when working.
Once I finish the dirty draft, I try to hammer out a preliminary blurb. I run them by my Tale Foundry friends as well as my writing group (when possible) and make revisions as needed.
This is my blurb for now, but we’ll see if I do any major plot revisions that prompt a change in description. I don’t suspect it’ll be changing much, however. Not only does it feel good to make a blurb that sounds interesting, but you’ll need one later anyhow, so it’s good to get one going.
Digging Into Draft One
I am so grateful to Deseretgear who invited me to join their writing group. They’ve been a great help as I’ve written draft 1, not only to keep me moving but also to point out my reoccurring shortcomings. I wrote a .5 draft which I submitted to them, after fleshing out what I knew needed work. Once they gave me feedback, I added/removed the content that needed work.
So, now I’ve added around 7,000 words and will likely continue to do so. The average for YA fantasy is 60,000-80,000 words and by the time I complete these revisions I should be happily within that word count window.
For now, that’s all, but why don’t you comment below? What is your writing process? Do you write doing a dirty draft or do you have to dig right into the meat when you get started?