I really do write QUITE an ugly first draft. I'm a fan of outlines, but really my outlines are generally pretty loose -- of the three to five page variety, not the thirty page variety. I've come to see that my rough draft is, in fact, my lengthy outline.
But once I have that outline down -- which comes by dint of blood, sweat, and tea
rs -- THEN things begin to shake loose. Once the foundation has been laid, the framework raised, then I can finally, really get to work on the structure.
Previously I would have handed this off to one of my editors in a weird ritual whereby they would look it over, make whatever comments and observations were possible, pat me on the head and shoot it right back to me with an order to finish it so they might actually be able to work on it.
Example of this insanity:
“So what’s the point of all this?” He gestured at the geisha mural, the bowls of smooth black stones and spartan orchid arrangements. “You have some kind of Asian fetish?”
Tashiro flung himself down on one of the low couches. “What’s wrong with being aware of your heritage?”
“What heritage are you supposed to be?” Ryo tugged on a long red strand of hair.
Finish talking go to bed and have sex
Ryo explored rolled onto his knees, reaching for the bottle of oil.
Makes sense to me!
Of course you can only take it so far before the missing pieces begin to crucially impact all that would follow.
Since I don't have an editor to hand it off to, I'm letting the manuscript sit for a week, which seems crazily indulgent. To allow myself that kind of time away from a project. In the meantime I'm working on other things -- The Boy With the Painful Tattoo mainly.
I don't know if this will work, but if it does it will be terrific because one of the things I really hated about my previous work schedule was not having time to let things sit. That time of letting the story lie fallow is crucial, I think.
Unless I'm kidding myself and I'm just being lazy.