There’s a phrase among screenwriters – I think Jeannie Bowerman came up with it. Novelists have adopted it as well.
The “Vomit” draft.
What in the world?
The concept is that in my first draft – whether novel or screenwriting – I’m not going to worry about rules, structure, correct format, etc.
The entire idea of your first draft is to vomit words on the white space on your screen in Scrivener or in Final Draft.
Then later, during the edit process, you can worry about Dave Trottier standing behind you with a large wooden ruler, saying “The correct formatting for a scene without sound is MOS.”
Is this scene a sequel to the previous scene?
I don’t care.
Does this scene promise something I’ve got to deliver on later?
I don’t care.
I’ll care about all that in the first re-write. For now… I’m getting this scene down before I lose it.
Carpenter watched through the binoculars. The quads had stopped, and the men dismounted. The man working the radio equipment was so close, it looked like they could just reach out and touch him. He looked annoyed, fiddling with earphones. Carpenter slowly moved his binoculars, and saw one of the troopers looking intently down. The trooper motioned to another trooper, who walked casually over to him. The first one said something, and the body of the second one stiffened a little.
“Are they looking?” McKinney whispered. Carpenter paused.
“They’re looking.” He said finally. There was no mistaking the actions Of the UN troops. They were actively looking. Two or three were speaking on radios while scanning with binoculars. McKinney was nervous as he watched through his own as one seemed to stare right at him.
“What do we do?” McKinney asked.
Carpenter was silent. “That depends on if they go away or not.” he answered grimly. “If not, then we fight. We take out as many as we can, and then the rest of you start the retreat to the boats. Load the boats, and head towards Greenland. I’ll cover the retreat while you get everyone to safety. If they go away, that was our close call. We pack up and move today. It was time to move, anyway.”
“You’re gonna need help if it turns to shooting.” McKinney said. Carpenter shook his head.
“We’ve already discussed this. Your job is important. You have to get everyone to safety.” McKinney nodded, and pushed the radio earpiece back in his ear. Carpenter caught his arm.
“If I don’t make it… Be sure to tell Alison I love her.” He said. There was deadly seriousness in his eyes. McKinney nodded.
They watched. One of the soldiers was wandering down the trail. His eyes were down, as if he was following the trail. He stopped, staring at something. Then he turned and motioned to one of the watching Sergeants. The Commanding Officer strode over to him, as the soldier pointed at something. His hand swept back and forth. The Commanding Officer nodded.
“Show time.” Carpenter said grimly. He placed his eye to the scope of his rifle as the soldiers began walking down the trail. McKinney took the safety off his rifle, and moved slowly through the bush in slow, random movements as they’d practiced. He headed towards the shooting spot they’d practiced from.
See? I worried about who (first word!) what (second word) where (established in previous action snippet), and if there’s any other W words, I tossed them over my shoulder as I and Carpenter crawled through the undergrowth to approach the men on the quad!
This is writing. Get your vomit draft down. On the re-write you can get this all formatted nicely. You can make sure this snippet is the sequel to the previous snippet, if this scene promises something (oh, boy it does!) and if it delivers on previous promises (oh, yes… it does).
Get the raw words on paper. I tend to call my first draft a “Raw draft”, not a “first draft”. Edit later! You’ve got 1667 words to write today!