Pam vs. Quita: First Drafts!

Writing Song of the Day: “First Love” by Adele

Pam Vs. Quita is a series in which we battle it out over our writing methods and you, our lovely followers, choose the successor…or at least let us know who you agree with more. 🙂

Quita royally kicked Pam’s hind-pots on the first installment, which was all about story ideas. Now, we’re rumbling over how we get those dreaded first drafts done.
Pam’s Thoughts:

First drafts. Just typing those two words sends chills up and down my spine (or it could be I still have to ice my knee post-surgery). While, of course, I heart writing, I’m not the fan of the first draft. It takes SO much will power to shut off my internal editor and just get the damn story out.

Here’s the thing–I’m not a plotter nor a panster. I’m some weird hybrid of both (plonster?). I start outlining the first few chapters of my WIP. I tend to look at each chapter like a short story–I want to make sure that there’s always some kind of conflict that the protagonist is trying to overcome. If I hit a roadblock, I just start to write what I have. As looney tunes as it may sound, the characters eventually start to speak to me and steer the story the rest of the way. I then may get inspired and start outlining the remaining few chapters.

On my current WIP, I’m having trouble getting past that roadblock. So, my trusty cousin, Quita (though in this post, she shall be noted as My Ain True Enemy), downloaded the beta version of Scrivener for Windows for me. I plan on placing the scenes I’ve written so far on different note cards and rearranging them until I have an ah-ha moment. From there, I’ll either just write or plot out the remaining few chapters. A plontser, you see. The fun stuff is with revisions, but more on that later…

Quita’s Thoughts:

First drafts are sooo annoying, but fun at the same time. I’m a little bipolar about them, I guess. And impatient. That’s my biggest pet peeve about the first draft–why can’t all of the plots and ideas flow out of my head as quick as I’m thinking of them? I really wish there was a way to get some of those scenes out without having to type it all. Microsoft needs to come out with a stream of consciousness word program–the words appear as you think them!

But, I digress. How do I write my first draft? I don’t really have an interesting answer to this. It’s very simple: I just get it all out. I have my ideas outlined (for the most part) and then I just type it all up. As I go along, I change things and then my outline gets all scratched and ugly, but that’s okay 🙂 That’s what programs like Scrivener are for–it’s about time for me to give up the paper and pencil method, I suppose. So, my first drafts are usually just “dumped” out for lack of a better word. I don’t self-edit, I just type it all and I worry about changing things later.

Okay that’s Round 2? Who’s the victor this week??
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Pam vs. Quita: Story Ideas!

Brainstorming Song of the Day: “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” by 30 Seconds to Mars

Pam Vs. Quita is a series in which we battle it out over our writing methods and you, our lovely followers, choose the successor…or at least let us know who you agree with more. 🙂

Our first installment of Pam vs. Quita is all about inception. No, not the movie (though as many of you may know, it’s probably our fave movie EVER), but how we actually come up with our masterpieces, a.k.a., our story ideas.

Pam’s Thoughts:

I’m a weirdo. Some of you may remember that the story that nabbed me an agent came from an elaborate dream. You see, I rarely dream about myself–I usually have these grand sequences featuring some of my favorite actors. Again, weirdo here. If the dream sticks with me, then I may finally sit down and jot down my idea.

I’ve also gotten a few ideas from movies that I loved when I was younger, but I try to put my own modern twist to it. Right now, I’m currently working on a WIP that is reminiscent of the Patrick Dempsey classic, Can’t Buy Me Love. My NaNo novel was inspired by my obsession for Lost Boys. Believe me, I’m not plagiarizing the plots–I take the basic formulas but add my own layers.

So after I get the initial idea–say, from a dream or an old movie–I use a strategy that I learned from one of my fave authors, Jodi Picoult. She takes a situation then asks: What if? What if the Lost Boys were about mermaids, not vampires? What if Patrick Dempsey wanted to date the “hot girl” not to gain popularity, but because he needed some kind of alibi? Once I ask a question that I’d like to read more about, I start outlining my first draft. But that’s another blog post…

Quita’s Thoughts:

I get inspiration from the people and things around me. Probably like most writers, I am very observant. I’ll listen in on conversations and when I hear/see something I like, I make a mental note. Now…I’m not very good at keeping mental notes, because, well I’m a lil’ senile. So I have to try and write it down as soon as possible. And I’ve done this from time to time. Here are a few example of how something I have seen/heard influenced my writing and story ideas.

I get TONS of story ideas from my students. I saw one student with dark, long, black hair covering his face, tight black skinny jeans, and bright green converses on his feet. The green converses helped me shape an entire character and side plot in my NaNo project. I will listen to their conversations and how they interact and get ideas from that, too. I came up with one project while listening to a female student talk about how she would murder someone for her favorite singer. I thought about what would really drive a teenager to murder, and I hatched an idea of a young Natural Born Killers-esque couple on the run.

To sum it all up, I’m a complete thief for story ideas. I steal from real life people as well as TV shows, talk shows, reality TV, and books that I admire.

There you have it, peeps. So, Round 1 goes to…???