Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rough is Tuff

When I wrote my first draft of Pieces of Moon last fall, I finished it in two months. I thought I was pretty awesome. Thing is, I've barely looked back at that draft. All it really did for me was 1) increase my writer-esteem because I could say I finished a book 2) establish some sort of loose outline for my book.

Well, I tried to draft quickly again this last time. But I could not do it, and it fizzled out after about 7,000 words. Do you know why? When I started drafting Pieces of Moon, I really only thought it would need some editing. And that's all. (I did reach the acknowledged point of truly awful, and then it was all downhill from there, but I finished it because I was on this writer's high of cranking out words.)

I read over and over that writing a bad first draft is a good thing. Who writes a good first draft? Well, I learned something about myself last month (while drafting Book 2). I slowed down, and I wrote about 3,000 more words that weren't the greatest, but they weren't the ugliest either. (I say so now:) ) The only thing that kept me going last fall, when I cranked out so many words so fast was that I believed they were good.

I know everyone is different. In the end we all have a book, but to get there...well, it's just a unique journey for everyone. I have a book in my head, and when I write it's like building a wall. I need to make sure each brick is in place before adding the next layer. I need the scene to be strong and intact before moving on.

Don't get me wrong...I am all about revision. I've gone over what I've written in Pieces of Moon and made some pretty heavy notes on what needs to be changed (mostly based on reader feedback-invaluable). However, I don't want my wall to topple over because I threw it together too fast.


  1. Bricks are way too labor intensive. You should frame and then stucco it in my opinion. :) No, but it's so true, we all write differently. The key is finding what works for you.

  2. Kasie-What did the third little piggy build his house with? Hmmmm??

    Aubrie-I have definitely had stories collapse on me at that point, but I wouldn't say this particular story ended at 7K...just the way I was choosing to draft it.

  3. Great analogy Jessie! I like it. :-)

  4. The first book I wrote I thought was awesome until I went back and reread it. Now the idea of trying to revise it into something great is overwhelming. Too much to do.

    My second book, Some Kind of Normal, was published very much like the first draft. There were small things I changed and added, but essentially, it was an easy revision.

    This current one is somewhere in between.

    Just like no two writers are the same, no two books are the same, either. :) But I think there's something HUGE to say about having finished them, whether they're awesome or not.

  5. I wrote my first book like you did Pieces of the Moon and I have to say you wouldn't recognize it as the same book now.

    For my second draft I just wrote and didn't edit, but I think I had a better understanding of characters and the story line, so I think editing won't be as difficult.

    Plus I learned a lot with my first book. I don't use adverbs at will. I try to stay away from the words I over use, (although that usually means I inherit a whole new list), and I try to avoid the passive voice. So just write there I've made editing easier than my first book.

    Wow, that was a long comment for me.

  6. I have a hard time rewriting what I've already written. I find it's better to do a clean draft the first time and then just tighten it up on revision. Otherwise I end up rewriting.

  7. Okay, that made no sense. I meant I have a hard time REVISING... sheesh!