Scream (Photo credit: CHRISTOPHER MACSURAK)

I’ve done something a bit stupid. This could be the mark of a madwoman but I am feeling good about it. I finally hit around 41,000 words yesterday and I have experimented in Scrivener with the plot and the form etc. I must have had a bit of a funny turn last night as I found the delete button and after having a really good hard think about what I want to do and how long that is going to take me. I permanently deleted roughly 38,000 words. Please take permanently in the literal sense which involved emptying the waste paper basket on my desktop.Ummm, I know what your thinking. Your thinking she’s lost her little mind and will be one of those wannabe writers who NEVER finishes the first draft. The more I come to terms with the action I took last night, the more I think it makes sense.

The reason it’s not the craziest thing I have ever done is because the story I am writing has been in my head for so long that I had the misguided perception that I could write it all out with minimal planning and plotting.

My writers brain just does not work that way….

So I’ve kept some bits I am proud of, that I can read aloud like a bedtime story and it sounds right. No clunk, click or boom. I am going to continue to plot it out in Scrivener and I will be working on it via scenes as I am a visual person. The first attempt has shown that I am not a “start at the beginning and finish at the end” type of writer.

Now that I have cleared the metaphorical decks; I will be brave enough to write rubbish and continue to write rubbish until it’s finished. I won’t care if my little head tells me this is the worst thing I’ve ever written or that I am completely crazy for even thinking that I could write a book.

I will keep going until my digits bleed. I’ll have my plot to keep it in line and a synopsis of each scene. The writing will be lean, whilst still giving you impressions of another world. I want my readers to fill in the blanks and use their imaginations to colour it in from their perceptions and life experiences.

There will be no second cut, this was a one time thing. I think I needed to find what works for me as a writer and every single word I kept was based on a plan/plot/scene idea.

So have I completely lost it, gone nuts, flown away with the fairies? Comments as always welcome.


  1. like another said you still have it all stored in your own memory,so it isn’t totally gone. i try to write about my past and some of the things i went through and if i can make myself put it down at all,it comes out full of anger,and street language then I hit the trash button. that’s a lot of words to retype though, so i can imagine you have to be thinking about it from that angle to. i wish you the best of luck with your writing 🙂

    • Thanks Raven, I appreciate the comment. I find it difficult when its emotional or personal. The head wants to do it but the heart just freezes. I hope you get to a point where you can almost view it as someone else. Because it will be someone else, I think what we experience changes us as people. You are not who you once were, you are stronger and braver and much more awesome!

  2. I’ve done the same thing. Sometimes the delete button is you best friend. It can lift the weight off your shoulders and clear your head.

      • No. I completely started over with a new one. My idea was pulling me down more than helping me succeed and grow as a writer. Once I did that I was able to write more freely and just write better in general. But, I can image that you deleting your work is the same thing. Now you have all of that empty space to fill up again and this time you can do it they way you want too.

  3. I know that was difficult, but sometimes deleting is the best thing for the story. And for you. 🙂 Be true to the story. If you get too far off-track, no amount of plotting will help you dig your way out.

    • Thanks Tamara, I appreciate the support. I think I had kind of over estimated how much of a sit down and write person I am. I think I work best in bursts? I hope that makes sense. I am also definitely a “shitty first draft” person but I guess thats why they call it a draft!

      • I personally work better in bursts as well. If I have a daily word count goal of 2k, I break it down into bursts of 500 words each. I’ll write 500 words, then go do something else (work out, clean the kitchen, take a nap…), then I come back and do another 500 words. This lets me get my words in, but results in me rambling less on the page.

        And you can’t revise a blank page, so if you’re getting *something* on the page, that’s something. That being said, I write pretty crappy first drafts, too!

  4. It takes courage to do what you did! And something else; growth, it is only when we grow and develop as writers that we can ‘cut our darlings’ as S. King said. I admire you for this.

  5. Drafts are good…. That’s one of my points in a post I wrote. Just write…. you don’t have to publish but writing and knowing it’s there to go back to and reread will help you grow as a writer! Looking forward to more of your drafts becoming posts!

    • Liza, that is such a lovely thing to say! Thank you. Currently having fun trying to build a platform…. There may however be a writing post for later. If the netbook hasn’t been thrown at a wall by then.

  6. Pingback: 100 words… | The Dark Side of Digital Art.

  7. OMG….You are going formal on me..!!! I am altogether certain you know what you are doing. (I hope..!!!) I start many things over (and over..), but seldom throw everything away. I usually print out a hard-copy and save it, or keep a digital copy on a thumb drive. You might be surprised to learn how many real ideas are present in that work. I have reread some of them and discovered, quite pleasantly, that there was some real potential hiding therein. Character development (or assasination…), plots and sub-plots, settings and some general story lines have all been developed from these wasted works. Ideas are a writer’s lifeblood…
    Anyway, you will be richer for the experience. And above all, don’t let anyone dissuade you from doing what you think is best.!!

    • I promise I am not going formal. Did you not see my two posts yesterday… Facebook is Evil and Social Media ate my hamster? So I am fine. The problem I had with the work is that the idea is – good, I think. It was just that I’d taken an approach that just doesn’t work for me as a writer. Because I’d forgotten something really important…. Do whatever works for you. I had this misguided perception that I should be one of the creatives that sits down and just writes. But, I am a plotter, I’ve stood up and accepted that fact now. Although, I definitely like your idea of saving it somewhere just in case! 3,648 words and counting.

      • Yep, I read how Facebook ate your hampster (sorry, couldn’t help myself.. 🙂 ) I read everything you write…well, at least I think I do.! Creativity resides in those who pursue it. I feel certain that yours is right where you left it. I am also certain that you have done EXACTLY what you need to do. Your work will always be just as good as you allow it to be. If you are confident in your approach, your work will show it.
        3,648; 3,649; 3,650;………….3,700…..Sh*t, I have to stop this counting. I lose my place and it takes too long to start over.!!!

  8. To delete ideas and words is one thing; to forget them is something altogether different.

    It’s hard to say yet whether or not this is a good idea. The result of your actions is still a work in progress and no one will know until it’s been completed. Until that time comes, you should consider saving the work that you’ve already written, even if you decide that it should be removed from your story. That way, you’ll have it to look back upon at a later date, to inspire and guide your future words.

    • It’s not something I will ever be repeating. It was right for me at that time. If I ever get to the stage where I feel this way again… I will be saving the work somewhere. My main delusion came with the preoccupation that it is sexier/better if you are a “pantser” and that plotting stifles an idea and your creativity. Well that may be how some people roll, but not me. I take heart that great writers plot plan and research, then they re-write and comprehensively edit. I would like to produce effortless prose and I think that takes a lot of re-writing and fiddling. I don’t think anyone is capable of right first time…. But that’s just my humble still unpublished opinion. What do I know?

      • To write anything correctly the first time around takes years upon years of practice. Some claim such a writer has never existed; others believe one will never exist. The truth is out there, somewhere, but whether or not people will believe it when they see it is altogether another story.

        Planning, plotting, and researching is always useful in terms of learning something new. Free-writing is usually the best to come up with ideas, but unless you’ve got years of practice in the areas of thinking clearly and being able to clearly write about what it is that you’re thinking, it’s usually best to do the research while free-writing to keep everything running smoothly. Find what works for you and run with it.

        I’m enjoying this new look. Lovin’ it… more than McD’s.

      • For me, plotting is essential. If I start writing before I have, at the very least, half the story plotted out as well as a general idea for the ending, then I wander all over the place in my writing, going off on tangents and just generally wasting words. Like in the story I’m currently writing: 35k in, and I hadn’t finished plotting the story, so I was chasing will-o-the-wisps through the forest, more or less. Now I have a really basic outline for the rest of the story, so I’ll get a lot more accomplished. I just don’t make my outlines set in stone. Some of my best writing comes from surprises my characters drop on me that make the story so much richer and give it much more depth.

  9. Pingback: Crisis in Courage « Unwritten

  10. Wow, best of luck to you! That definitely takes a lot of awe. I tend to keep things like that “trunked” so when I’m feeling down I can look at them and tell myself “At least it’s not THAT bad!” lol.

    But bravo to you, chopping all that and not giving up on your idea and plot is a far braver move!

    Oh, and thank you for liking my post 🙂

    • No problem on liking your post it was excellent! Yeah, I still don’t regret it and I have written at a far higher quality this time around. I know it better as well. I’ve started sketching, drawing and clipping stuff into Scrivener. It is amazing how these things can really help you to get into the character and provide a level of detail that shows not tells. However, I am a pantser when it comes to this blog. Hence the poor grammar!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s