Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[process] A few notes on drafting Endurance

First of all, some baseline data on Endurance.

I produced 114,800 words of first draft copy in 50 elapsed hours over 35 calendar days, including 30 days of writing and 5 missed days due to illness, holiday or travel. This is an average drafting speed of a hair under 2,300 words per hour, and an average daily output of slightly over 3,800 words.

For comparison, that's rather a bit faster than the speed at which I drafted Pinion, which is my only substantial other post-surgical first draft. I don't count The Heart of the Beast because the process was so radically different, working as I was from Jeff VanderMeer's notes and multiple overlapping partial drafts.

Of far more significance (to me, at least) is the highly abbreviated nature of the draft. My last two solo first drafts were Green and Pinion, and both clocked in about 200,000 words. Endurance doesn't have any less plot than those other two books, at least so far as I can see. I seem to have compressed my writing process, possibly under the pressure of imminent chemotherapy — I didn't start drafting Endurance until I was well into the process of diagnosing the current round of cancer. calendula_witch has observed that Endurance is rather light on descriptive text, ordinarily a great flourish of mine, and also that I've compressed some key scenes.

I'm not entirely sure I haven't written a half-scale outline, in effect.

Nonetheless, the whole book is on the page. This time I'll be revising as a putter-inner rather than a taker-outer, which will be fairly novel experience for me. My process evolves with each book, but this was an unexpected and surprising direction for me to have taken. We'll see how the work holds up.

More thoughts as they come to me.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Tags: books, calendula, endurance, green, pinion, process, writing

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