Friday, November 20, 2009

Crappy First Drafts

The writing process sucks.

No, wrong. Writing, creating, playing God to your keyboard and your characters, that's awesome. Playing with my imaginary friends and making them a little bit more real, that's incredible.

But reality, that sucks.

Writing = being alone,(expect for your friends in your head)
Worst of all, Writing = REVISING.

Now revising SUCKS.

There are several stages of revising:
Global and line. Those are not really things, that's just what I call them.

I am now on draft 10 of my novel No System At All.

I started it when I was 16 weeks pregnant. Zoey is now 22 months old.

How and why I created this novel is an interesting side story.

I wrote a 535 page CHICK LIT. Yeah you read that right. It was 135K words.
For those of you who don't know, industry standard is 60K. Then I had the balls to SEND IT OUT TO AGENTS.
I got four requests for pages and four rejections. Do you know why? BECAUSE IT SUCKED. Seriously it was 135K.
So I sent it off to an editor for an MS review- maybe something I should have done before hand?
The editor said, "it sucked."
No, really she gave me EXCELLENT feedback. And she was right about a lot of it. But I didn't like it. Of course I was 15 weeks pregnant, uncertain of my life and sort of in the worst mental state I could be in. So instead of revising I opted to... TURN THE BOOK INTO A SERIES.

Welcome to the birth of my insanity.

Draft 1 of the story was originally 4 parts spanning a total of 4 years, telling the story of Bryce and Colin, two bothers who were in a rock band. Colin was destined to be a musical genius, Bryce was going to be a screw up. Colin has a girlfriend, who he loves and Bryce steals her. Oh and they stay in the band together and ultimately get a record contract.

Draft 1 included a 50 story arc with Bryce selling drugs, and being in love with his English teacher. He had Lizzy also have an affair behind Colin's back for a year. And there was a rape scene. Oh and Colin and Bryce find out their mom has cancer.

Draft 2 I ran it through spell check. <-- Seriously that was a full draft

Draft 3 I cut the rape scene and trim back the affair to a month and Lizzy leaves Colin for Bryce. (Why does Lizzy leave Colin for Bryce? I don't know-- I'm the Author, the GOD of this world, and I have no friggn' clue why) I wrote twenty pages that never even made it into the draft, Bryce was helping his teacher plan a wedding (What?!?!) you can see why it never made it in.

Draft 4
I vaguely remember draft 4 not sucking too much. I think this is when I sent it out my friend Alicia. <-- although after reading it, I'm not sure why she's still my friend.
Another important side note Alicia has an awesome blog. It's about writing, and waffles and on Thursdays she write about Zombies. If you're reading this, you should click over and go follow her blog too.

Draft 5
Took all of Alicia's suggestions, cut, trimmed, added. BTW Mom gets to live in this draft.

Draft 6
Took all of Danielle's suggestions, she's Alicia's friend.

Draft 7
Cut 30K and added 30K. Changed from 4 years down to 3. Bryce's entire back story is now being told through e-mails to his teacher. Including e-mails, IM's and other interesting format goodies.

Draft 8
Reread Danielle's and Alica's comments. New fixes, new content, old stuff trimmed.

Draft 9
Repeat process from draft 8

Draft 10
Novel is 2 parts.
Takes place over two and a half years.
NO LIZZY and BRYCE love story at all, cutting close to 30K.
A character who was introduced and cut and introduced again back in draft 7 returns to play a HUGE part in the story.
Lizzy is a bitch, which is fine, since no one liked her anyway. I never did, either.
A whole new back half of the book.

The total number of pages which are the same from first draft to last: 20. A grand total of 3 scenes.

Total page count 300, word count 75K.

Is there a point?
First Drafts are bad.
VERY bad.
You shouldn't show them to anyone.
So anyone doing NANOWRIMO, it's great your doing it, but don't rush out to query it. take your time.
Your characters aren't going anywhere and they will love you and respect you more in the morning if give them time to grow and not make them do retarded things.

Here's proof if you want it: Listen to John Green prove my point in a funnier way.

So how many more drafts before I can query?

One more.
I'm waiting on feedback from people from this last draft. Maybe draft number 11 will do it.

Until it's time to line edit. Insert ominous music here.


  1. Loved the way you shared your drafting process : ) I'm even more impressed that you remembered it all ;)

    Oh, and thanks so much for your (very helpful!!!!) comments on The Query Slushpile : )

  2. Thanks KLO. Glad you liked it.

    Thanks for following! I"ll follow your blog too.
    Have a great day

  3. I'm dying about how you're questioning how I'm still your friend. If I can read Nemesis' crap, no plot, no conflict writng and still be civil to him. I can edit and help your story (complete with conflict AND plot) and still be your friend.


    Thanks for the shout out BTW. No waffles this week.