Author Topic: Zeroth Draft  (Read 5796 times)

phinsxiii

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on: January 25, 2007, 12:56:01 PM
On a recent episode of Escape Pod, Steve mentioned that he would post his Zeroth Draft online.  His Zeroth Draft was what was being written n a notebook daily.  I emailed him about this and he suggested that I post my question to the forums.  Since I am just dipping my feet in the "Writing" WATERS, I thought I would ask everyone here the following:

1. How does everyone use the "Zeroth Draft"?
2. Is this mostly for notes, or are you writing out the draft longhand?
3. How often do you write to the draft?
4. When is the best time to start translating the info to the computer word processor?

Thanks,

SA :)



jrderego

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Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 01:35:55 PM
On a recent episode of Escape Pod, Steve mentioned that he would post his Zeroth Draft online.  His Zeroth Draft was what was being written n a notebook daily.  I emailed him about this and he suggested that I post my question to the forums.  Since I am just dipping my feet in the "Writing" WATERS, I thought I would ask everyone here the following:

1. How does everyone use the "Zeroth Draft"?
2. Is this mostly for notes, or are you writing out the draft longhand?
3. How often do you write to the draft?
4. When is the best time to start translating the info to the computer word processor?

Thanks,

SA :)

1. I don't know how everyone uses it, but I know how I do. Zeroth Draft for me occurs almost always between my brain and my typing fingers.

2. I keep a notebook with me, just a little 5.5/3/5 wirebound one, that if I have an idea for a good sentence or a character name, or some notes about an event or a conversation, maybe even a page or two of setup. But I don't always use it for that, sometimes I have an idea clearly enough that I can start typing it out right away. I also type much faster than I write longhand. I never outline anything, ever, unless it's Technical Training for my actual day job.

3. I am not sure I understand the question, but here goes. I usually have between 3 and 6 short stories (plus some much longer projects) going at all times in first draft form. I write in the one that I am most excited about at any given moment. Sometimes writing in one story, gives me an idea for another, so I switch to that and add that idea.

4. It depends on the person really. Some people like to write the whole shebang out longhand then retype and edit it. Others like to type out a draft, print it, and edit the hard copy. Others like me, usualy start soft copy, edit in soft copy, and pass around hard copy for my wise readers to comment on.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2007, 05:12:20 PM by jrderego »

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bekemeyer

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Reply #2 on: January 25, 2007, 05:47:56 PM
i keep a composition book with me at all times.  most of the time i will write an abreviated version of what i think the scene/paragraph/chapter should be. 

most of the time it's in an illegible (my handwriting) note form, just for me to keep what i was thinking fresh in my mind.  but, i have written entire drafts of things word for word in the long hand format.  depending on how well thought out my ideas are.  it's great for clearing your mind and getting some "brainstorm" type writing done.  sometimes there's a lot of pressure to actually write something good when you're sitting in front of the computer. 

making the switch to the computer is also different, for me, each time.  sometimes i will write 20 or 30 pages by hand and then go back over them as i type them (slowly type them) in to the computer.  it does a couple of things.  it gives me a chance to go back over what i had already written and revise it.  make sure the story is on track.  it also helps if you've gotten yourself stuck (i won't call it writer's block) at a point and you're not exactly sure what to do next.  just the exercise of going back over what you have already written gives you a chance to get the story straight in your mind again, or even think of something you hadn't thought of before. 

that's just the way i do it and it works pretty good for me.  finding a routine that workd for you and sticking to it is the best strategy for getting anything done. 

we're a strange group of people. 

i never had called it a Zeroth draft before i heard Steve talk about it on the Pod, though.  i always just called it the first draft, or the daydream draft.
   


Excuse me, but what exactly is ScatterPod?


Steven Saus

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Reply #3 on: February 01, 2007, 04:53:51 PM
The best advice I ever got was:  You can edit later.  Don't edit while doing your first (zeroth, whatever) draft. 

My best practice is to switch forms to edit.  If I wrote it longhand, type it all in for the next draft.  Then print that, read it aloud, scratch on it with pen.  Go back and retype it again.   Each transition gives me another chance to find errors and ways to tighten things up.

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


scottjanssens

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Reply #4 on: February 01, 2007, 06:13:47 PM
The best advice I ever got was:  You can edit later.  Don't edit while doing your first (zeroth, whatever) draft.

That depends on the writer.  I always begin my writing sessions editing the previous day's writing.  This helps me get my brain in the right space with both writing and plotting.  My advice to beginners is try every method you're told and see what works for you.  There are as many methods of writing as there are writers.

To address the original questions:

1. My zeroth draft is mostly in my head with some notes jotted down in a file.  By the time I start writing prose I'll have most, if not all, of the major plot points worked out.
2. I don't call it a zeroth draft.  I just call it plotting.
3. Never, because it's not really a draft.
4. Whatever works for you.  Try different things.  Eventually, you'll find something that clicks with you

I don't like to create many drafts.  My first draft is edited as it's written so my first draft is probably equivalent to a second draft for writers who don't edit until they've finished a whole draft.  The pitfall to my method is that you have to be absolutely sure of your plot going in.

Don't get discouraged.  Writing is hard.



scottjanssens

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Reply #5 on: February 01, 2007, 06:16:37 PM
As Uriel mentioned, ALWAYS read your ms allowed before sending it out for critique or submitting.  I see a lot of submissions where it's obvious the author failed to do this.



smartbombradio

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Reply #6 on: February 01, 2007, 07:16:31 PM
I write my zeroth draft longhand.  That way I'm guaranteed a free draft (.5) when I type it into the computer. 

The most important part of the first draft is you need to put it away for at least a week before you work on it again. 

You have to have fresh eyes when you work on your own stuff, so never revise too early.


Steven Saus

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Reply #7 on: February 02, 2007, 02:16:19 AM
The best advice I ever got was:  You can edit later.  Don't edit while doing your first (zeroth, whatever) draft.
That depends on the writer.  I always begin my writing sessions editing the previous day's writing.

I don't think we're contradicting each other.   Please allow me to try again:

When you're writing, in that creative flow... just write. 

Does that make more sense?

Walking is the process of controlled stumbling.


JaredAxelrod

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Reply #8 on: February 09, 2007, 03:55:04 PM

1. How does everyone use the "Zeroth Draft"?
2. Is this mostly for notes, or are you writing out the draft longhand?
3. How often do you write to the draft?
4. When is the best time to start translating the info to the computer word processor?


Speaking from my own experience, the Zero Draft is usually done long hand in the notebook I keep in my back pocket.  I do it in ink to keep myself from editing as I go--something that's far too tempting on a word processor.  It's really to get the idea of the story out of my head and on paper.  It's not going to be read by anyone but me, so it's rough and note-filled and sections are underlined for emphasis and good parts are circled so I can be sure not to forget them.  I'm of the opinion that one can't start editing until one is done writing--though I do know writers who can edit as they go and still finish things, I am not one of them--so I don't transfer the Zero Draft until it is done.  Transfering it from ink-scrawled notebook to computer screen is an editing process in itself, and once it's all up there it never reads the same as it did in the notebook.  Now that's its digital, it's a First Draft, and it's something I can work with.

I did this for just about everyone of my stories, stopped for a while and found myself repeatedly getting stuck.  Now I'm back on the Zero Drafting, and wondering why I ever quit.