If you ever need evidence that Kelly and I have very different brains, just read her post on rewriting from last week. I could copy it word for word and title it “Exactly the Opposite of How I Feel”.
Writing first drafts is awesome for me. I have an idea where I’m heading because I’ve started dong outlines, but even before then, the discovery was the fun part. (Doing outlines has made my first drafts less fun, but has made the books a thousand times better. And it’s the fun of discovery without the work of writing!) My words might be dreck, but the story is brilliant. My characters are fun people. And setting–that’s for draft two.
But I finish it. Then it’s time for the slog of revision.
My plot has holes that, as my high school marching band director used to say, I could drive a Mack truck through. Characters are real in my head but absolutely flat and bewildering on the page. The setting still needs to be worked out, because even if I developed it during draft 1, it will have major problems. And the style and prose and voice? Oddly, they didn’t magically fix themselves when I wasn’t looking. My novel will be broken, and I don’t know how to fix it.
I think what’s going on here is that my revision skills are several levels below where my writing skills are. And–along with patient critiquers–I can think of only one way to fix that. Well, two. This is why I started outlining: it helps me fix problems before they start. But the best solution? More practice.