There are two very basic schools of thought when it comes to drafting a novel.
Plan A: The White-Hot First Draft Method of Writing a Novel
As I recall, which means I could be wrong, this method was first made popular by John Braine in his book How to Write a Novel.
The writer should dash through the first draft of their novel at white-hot speed, ignoring mistakes and bad writing, just concentrating on totting up the page count and finishing the damned thing. Only once it's finished is the writer allowed to return to his or her mss with a cooler head and rewrite, tidying up erratic spellings or punctuation, and smoothing out bumps in the story detail, plot or character arcs.
Clearly, this approach requires the ability to 'switch' between writing brains: the creative brain, working at full tilt, and the editor's brain, moving critically and methodically through the finished mss.
Unfortunately, I'm not terribly good at switching off my inner critic. This means the white-hot draft option, though appealing, is never going to be the easy one for me.
Mistakes leap off the screen at me and demand instant revision. Characters insist on changing their dialogue as soon as it's spoken. And the plot ... well, the plot either has to follow a smooth and unvarying schedule or be kept under constant supervision, with each new plotpoint demanding a quick fix or rewrite in the previous chapter(s).
So I'm the sort of writer who prefers ...
Plan B: The Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back Method of Writing a Novel
This is the way I write novels, mostly. I do plan some within an inch of their lives, prior to starting work, but still can't quite bring myself to ignore what I've just written.
The writer constantly scrutinises their work for possible errors: these can range from spelling mistakes or unhappily placed colons (see ten words back) to major problems like poor character development, jumping tension within scenes, and implausible or disastrous plot points.
There are advantages to stopping every few pages to keep your writing under control. It means you have far less editing and polishing work to do, theoretically, when you finish the book. It also means you shouldn't have to scrap the novel in the closing pages and start again at the beginning because Daisy turns out to be a man in drag on page 347 which means the man she married on page 12 is either into men in drag or has never shared a bed with her. Either of which needed to be made clear to the reader before the last chapter of the book ...
So here I am at the start - or restart, due to structural and other changes suggested on my recent Arvon course - of my teen fantasy novel. Do I write a white-hot first draft, as advocated by both Lee Weatherly and Malorie Blackman, our tutors, and also by Melvin Burgess, our mid-week reader, or do I continue with my plodding knit-one, purl-three approach to novel making?
I'm rather inclined, in my present mood, to rush into a white-hot draft. Onward and upward! But can I sustain such a punishing pace or will I start backsliding in a few days by making secret corrections while my other brain's sleeping?
And if I type too fast, will my dreaded RSI problems resurface?