I’ve found a new buzz-phrase to add to my writer’s vocabulary list:
Zero Draft – this is the stuff that comes before the first draft, the stuff that’s so full of holes and constructed of such flimsy stuff it’s little more than a collection of notes. This blog post by J.W. Troemner goes into more detail about the concept.
I’m in love with the zero draft because it’s helping me do what I’ve had an immensely hard time doing for the past year, and that’s get words on the page.
I used to be obsessed with making my first draft a perfect draft, something that would ultimately need only a whisper of editing, a sprinkling of commas, a once over for those sneaky typos that manage to defy spell check. I felt that if I got it all right the first time, I wouldn’t have to waste so much time later tinkering.
Doing all the tinkering first led me to produce very little new words in 2011. So for 2012 it’s out with the ‘hallowed attempt at producing amazing greatness’ and in with the quick and dirty ‘zero draft’. I’ve got words on the page, and I can work with them [Lord knows I need to work with them], but that’s okay. The tinkering will come later when I know where the story is going because I’ve already gotten there, when I’ve sketched out where all the pieces fit.
In the words of Scarlet O’Hara, as God is my witness, I shall never write myself into a corner again! [She said that, didn’t she? Or words to that affect.]
Thus far my Zero Draft approach has produced 73,321 words [in 30 days]. I can’t guarantee any of them will appear in my Final Draft [well maybe ‘the’], but I feel good that I have a framework in place. When I really sit down to ‘write’, I won’t be working without a net. It’s like plotting for the pantser in me.
Do you practice Zero Draft? Or something like it? If so, how has it worked for you?