Is it drafty in here, or is it just me? Did someone leave a window open? Am I sitting near an air vent?
No, it’s not an open window or air vent that’s leaving me cold, it’s the first draft of my current project.
For the last four months, I’ve been hard at work on the companion novel to THROUGH THE STORM (which is currently on submission). Where THROUGH THE STORM is told from my female protagonist, Jillian’s POV, my newest project, RAGING STORM, allows Griffin (her best friend) to tell his side of the story.
From the beginning, RAGING STORM has been daunting. Let me tell you why…
It’s the First Draft!
The first draft of any project will always be the worst. For me, drafting is my least favorite part of writing. Weird, right? It’s a necessity if there is to be a book in the end. But still, I’m not a fan.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE telling stories! LOVE IT!! But for me, spitting out the first draft of my novel is scary. Everything that transfers from my brain, through my fingers, and onto the computer screen is just…yuck! Every word, every phrase…I hate it all. I am my own worst critique (aren’t we all, though?). It’s a battle to turn off that mean internal voice, telling me how awful my story really is.
Night after night, I plow through my WIP, all the while digesting a steady diet of “you suck sandwiches”.
And night after night, I come back for more.
But, as I near “The End”, I get a flutter in my heart, knowing what’s coming…THE SECOND DRAFT–which is guaranteed to be better than the first.
Once my terrible first draft is complete, I get to begin my favorite part of the whole writing process, EDITING.
I love editing. I trade in those “you suck sandwiches” for “you’re awesome appetizers”. For me, editing is when the true storytelling begins. With each edit, each change I make to my original manuscript, my story grows and my characters truly start to feel alive. Where the first draft is cold and impersonal, the second, third, and fourth drafts are warm and real.
As I write that “drafty” 1st draft, my mantra is on repeat in my head, “Write a crappy story.” Over and over again, I keep telling myself this. Eventually, I know I get to fix all the things that left me feeling cold and withdrawn from the characters that I love.
For those of you who are currently working on a 1st draft, KEEP GOING! Don’t give up! Getting to “The End” is the hardest part. And on the flip side, don’t EVER query your first draft, it’s bound to give the agent reading it a terrible cold, and your writing career will be frozen before it even beings. It’s worth repeating…DON’T EVER QUERY A FIRST DRAFT! Don’t be left in the cold.
RAGING STORM is well underway. Each day, I write more and more. Do I always like what I write? NO WAY! But, it can be fixed!! My friend, Heather Brewer, told me, “You can’t edit a blank page.” She’s so right. So, write away! Keep going! Write that terrible first draft, so it can be transformed into a beautiful story and shared with the world!
My Anatomy of Storytelling:
1st Draft- The skeleton of the story.
2nd Draft- Through editing, add muscle to the story.
3rd Draft- Strengthen those muscles and begin to flesh out the characters and plot.
4th Draft- Continue strengthening those muscles. Characters and plots are real, flesh and bone now. Time to accessorize with sub plots and small details.
5th Draft and more- Personalize and beautify each character and plot until the story is a living, breathing wonderful creation!