In 2015, I read a Nerdy Book Club post dedicated to Lindsay Eagar’s first book, Hour of the Bees. I was utterly fascinated with the story idea and Lindsay herself. In that post, she talked about writing the first draft of her book in ten days.
For real. I was enthralled.
I sought Lindsay out to write a post about Bees. Then I met her when she came through Albuquerque on book tour. Here I talk up her second novel, Race to the Bottom of the Sea. Next I asked her to write about her third novel, The Bigfoot Files. Lindsay’s writing is vivid and lovely and real. She’s one of those authors whose every book I know I’ll read. I’m a totally unabashed superfan.
So when I heard Lindsay was offering a writing course, I jumped at the chance to participate. The class was an opportunity to watch Lindsay draft a novel in ten days, from brainstorming to finished draft. It came at a perfect time for me — a few weeks ago, just as I’d reached the end of a months-long revision project. While I listened to Lindsay’s daily videos, I took pages of notes. I was reminded to be playful with my writing, to harness my subconscious, to dig deeper, and to find the joy.
Here’s what Lindsay says about fast drafting:
When I fast draft, I am aiming to blast through the story as quickly as possible—I don’t pause to fix plot holes, I don’t stop to correct misspelled words, I don’t think. Whatever is in my brain comes out onto the page—sort of a combination of stream-of-consciousness (but much more focused) and brainstorming (but, again, much more focused). I start at the beginning of the book, and I don’t stop until I get to the end. If there are holes or gaps in what I know, I skip them or write in placeholders. If there is research required, again, a placeholder goes in, and I charge forward.
I want to get the shape of the book, a rendering, an idea of where the lights and shadows fall, the rough parts, the parts where I need to pay attention to detail.
To use another metaphor—I want to shuffle through the dark forest without a flashlight, feeling my way past the tumble-down branches and fallen trees, crossing the stream, rocks underfoot—and once I get through to the other side, I can draw a map.
The result is a draft that is often unreadable by anyone but me—but it’s a draft that has not lingered on any one plot problem or snarly piece of prose. It’s a draft that moved from my brain to paper in an efficient and timely manner, and the feeling when I print out the first draft and start preparing to revise? Best feeling in the world.Read the full article at Susan Dennard’s newsletter, Misfits and Daydreamers
Lindsay’s 80/20: the Fast Draft Method class begins April 7. Enrollment is officially open. It’s “a six-week or six-module course, depending on how fast you want to jump through it. Each week includes lectures, exercises, self-examinations, and group video Q&As with Lindsay to keep you on track. You also get a one-on-one email, phone call, or video chat with Lindsay to go over your personal journey.” This is a great opportunity to study alongside a master storyteller. Go! Check it out!
Steve C says
Thanks for the tip and for reminding me of Race to the Bottom of the Sea – definitely one I’d like to check out.
It’s a wonderful book. I hope you enjoy!