10 November 2010

Guest post by Clarissa Draper, "My First Draft"

The Burrow is pleased to welcome Clarissa Draper as our guest blogger today. Clarissa and I go back a long way, and I am proud to say I started following her blog "Listen to the Voices" when the number of followers was still in single digits (she is nearing 400 now). Clarissa is a person I truly admire because she gives back to the writing community a lot more than she gets from it - if you aspire to write mysteries, you should not miss her weekly feature "Mystery Writer's Guide to Forensic Science", and all writers can benefit from the "Chapter Critiques" she publishes every week. If you are not already a follower of her blog, I urge you to become one - you will not be disappointed. Since almost everyone seems to be a part of the NaNoWriMo frenzy, Clarissa has chosen to write about the "First Draft". Without further ado, over to Clarissa!

My First Draft
What makes a great novel? A complex, dynamic, seamless piece of work. A theme, a mood, and a style of writing that lasts the whole story.

However, one thing I've noticed when I edit my first draft is, because I write over a period of time, the writing takes on various moods. Mainly because I'm a moody person. One second I'm happy, the next I'm yelling. My husband has a saying: 'Wait ten minutes and her mood will change to grim.'

Well, actually, he doesn't say that, and if he does, it's not to my face. And rarely do I yell. More likely, I'll probably ignore you.

Kidding aside, you will notice that after watching a romantic movie, you'll be more likely to write romantic lines into your scene...even if it's a mystery novel. Or, if you've had a fight with your kids or spouce or mother-in-law, you'll tend to be more testy with your writing.

Also, even if you have an outline or a way you think the novel is headed, as you write, you discover new links and connections and you learn more about the characters as you go along.

If you like improving your writing skills as you write, you will find the ending in better form than when you started. That's why if writers want a solid, uniform piece of work, writers need to edit.

Does anyone else notice that their mood affects their writing?

Thank you Clarissa for joining us today. Incidentally, Clarissa recently landed a publishing contract for her first Evans/ Blackwell novel, with the publisher showing an interest in the rest of the series also. Yeah!!!


Shaharizan Perez said...

I noticed that the mood and tone of my writing changes also. I have one work in progress that starts off with an ominous tone and mood. However, about three pages later, the tone is happy and carefree. I was scratching my head on that one.

But since reading your post, you answered my question as to why the sudden change in writing. I'm writing over time and as my mood changes, my writing changes.

Excellent post!

Hart Johnson said...

Sometimes I have a REALLY HARD TIME being as horrible to my characters as I ought to--I wonder if instigating a fight with the hubster before hand might resolve that *shifty*

Okay, maybe not, but maybe if I note that when one happens naturally, that is the best time for the REwrite...

I think though, my mood is more stable than most... I periodically get silly (oh, I hear you, Burrowers--periodically?) and then my characters become real smart alecs... I try to just build in one or two to the story to channel that, because it will appear no matter what.

Unknown said...

Oh, believe me, I get back a lot from this wonderful community of writers. That's why I love giving back. Thank you for posting this blog. I really appreciate it.

Now, back to NaNo...


Mason Canyon said...

I think mood does affect writing sometimes without the writer even realizing it. I can't image an author writing a happy scene when they are depressed or angry without bits of that finding their way in. Great post.

Thoughts in Progress

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think you're exactly correct. I try to put on music or a movie to fit the type of scene I'm working on. I have a few favorite movies I play over and over again. I listen more than watch and work through the scene.