The Rough Draft

I’ve done it. I’ve finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, when I got there, I found out it was more like a suggestion of a light. The burning ember on the tip of a match stick. Because, let’s face it, as an author, your work is never really done. But that’s not the point. The point is, I’ve finally reached a point with my previous manuscript where I can’t do much but sit back and wait. Yes, I’ll continue to send out query letters, but my work on the piece itself is at a standstill. I could probably continue revising, changing, fixing and rearranging, but I’m honestly afraid I’d never stop. So I’m moving onto the next project.

Whatever you do, DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND! He thinks I spend too much time writing. And I probably do. This blog post is a perfect example. I should be packing, getting things ready to go camping, but I’m sitting here writing instead. Anyway, back on track. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been working on the first draft of my newest work in progress. If you’ve read my last blog post, you will remember her fondly as Phoebe. Phoebe and I have had a rough couple of weeks. I keep deleting and rewriting. I’m not 100% happy with what I’ve written, so I change it, which results in not enough time to move the story forward. And it’s frustrating.

It shouldn’t be. A first draft is a ROUGH draft for a reason. I think part of my problem is the fact that my last first draft was written during NANOWRIMO. For those of you unfamiliar with Nano, it’s a contest held in November in honor of National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It forces you to ignore your inner editor and just get words on the page. Oh, how I miss that. Apparently I need that to help me get my ideas down.

I’ve only managed about 5,000 words of my current draft, and it’s rough. It’s rougher than washboard on a county road at 50 miles per hour. Rougher than sandpaper on bare feet. Rougher than . . . Well, you get my point. It’s not very good. But I need to get over it and get the story down. Because as I write, I learn my characters. I learn to write in their voice, what they would do, say. How they’d react. And until I really learn who they are, it’s not going to be very good. That’s what the next draft is for.

So wish me luck. Phoebe and I will be out of contact for the next few days. I won’t have a computer. (My husband would be suspicious.) But I am taking a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper. Maybe then I can make some progress and learn who Phoebe really is.


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