I'm up to 53,300 words on the newest manuscript which translates to almost two-hundred pages or about 95% of the finished versions of The Mark and Vision. This book is definitely not 95% done. I'm not really sure how close it is, I'm just going to keep writing until the idea bin for it is empty.
That's how first drafts go. They're my least favorite part of the writing process. The hardest part, the blank page daring me to come up with something interesting. But what I really hate about them is the certainty that what I'm writing is a complete mess.
As the big-picture creative part of the process, the draft is where story lines develop, characters are fleshed out, sometimes taking on larger or different roles than originally imagined, themes emerge and pieces of the story connect or fall apart.
And because much of this stuff develops organically, the story is inevitably uneven. Things are repeated, emotions flat, motivations missing, whole parts of the story are explored too fully or not enough, characters act differently in the beginning than they do later and not in a good way. Not because they've developed on the page, but because they've developed in the writer's head, their voice different on page one-hundred fifty-three than it was on page fifteen.
Knowing all of this drives me crazy in the same way that knowing my car needs to be vaccuumed or my desk organized does. But I ignore that stuff just like I ignore the disaster of words behind me as I'm drafting because if I didn't, I'd spend my whole life neatening things up and never get anything done.
The first draft is about spilling out all the thoughts and pieces of story to be organized and prettied up later. I try to write sequentially, keeping one "clean" file and a separate "junk drawer" one, with stray bits and out-of-order scenes that get worked in as I go.
I just keep writing until I've exhausted ideas and worked my way to the final scene, already written and waiting it's turn to be cut and pasted in, and I'll have...a finished draft, a lot of editing to do and maybe a few minutes to clean my desk.