Book 2: Rough Draft


Thanks to everyone who entered my 6 months to BORN WICKED contest! The winner is the lovely Jenn Rush! Look for another giveaway on September 7–which will include an ARC of my very own!

So, I was going to write a 5 Things on Friday post, all, la, I am going to Truckeroo tonight! Truckeroo is a festival with a bunch of DC food trucks and I am excited. There’s a popsicle truck, and as you may have noticed, I am newly obsessed with popsicles. They have a guac pop that everyone else I know is horrified at the thought of but I really want to try it. Alas, I looked at their menu and they are not featuring the guac pop this week! But they do have a peach mint iced tea one. It shall be mine.

Anyway, the truth is, I’m kind of a bundle of doubt monsters over here. After six months of revising and editing BORN WICKED for my agent and editor, on an increasingly perfectionistic level, it’s very strange to be first-drafting again. I have to force myself to stop screwing around on twitter and turn on Mac Freedom and just try to get some words. Something. I’ve abandoned my 1200 words a day plan until I feel my way into this book.

It makes no sense to measure the finished BW against this little nebulous baby draft. I know that and I am trying not to do it.

There are moments where I’m so in love with my characters and it feels right and I’m very happy. And then there are moments where I think it sucks, and it’s not right, and I’m not quite sure why and it drives me nuts. Should I futz around with it more? Should I move on? How does this writing-on-deadline thing work? Three months to write a new book seems challenging to me. Doable, but challenging, and while I know it will go faster toward the end, I don’t want to spend too much time dillydallying at the beginning.

I’ve never been a fast writer. I’m fairly certain I will never write a book in nine days or three weeks or whatever. I do not pound out 2000 words in an hour. I think the people who can are rockstars, but everyone does it differently. My way is slow and painstaking. Maybe 500 words an hour. Maybe. I tend to read over what I’m writing like thirteen times before I move on. It means that my “first draft” is fairly smooth but slow going. When I cannot shut up my internal editor, sometimes I turn on Write or Die to the kamikaze mode so I can keep moving (if you’re not familiar with it, it will erase your words if you don’t keep writing new ones). When I finish a chapter, I make The Playwright, my brilliant CP, and my best friend read it. At this point I mostly want cheerleading: Yay! I love it! Keep going! although if they feel like something’s veering off in the wrong direction, I want to know that too. (It might make me cry, but I do.) Also, I can listen to music sometimes, but only things that are already well-worn, that I can tune out. Lots of Snow Patrol and Mumford & Sons.

What are you working on right now? How do you draft?

10 Responses

  1. Patricia

    As someone who is drafting, I SO appreciate you sharing this today! It's always awesome to be reminded that others have trouble with internal editors as well. (We should introduce them so they can hang out together and leave us alone for awhile!)

    You can do it! In the immortal words of Maureen Johnson, "You should dare to suck!"

    (Also, congrats to Jenn! :))

  2. Oh God, I'm right there with you Jess! I am closer to the end of my sequel where things SHOULD be zipping along, but I have so many plot threads loose that the thought of wrapping them all up is daunting. And I'm not sure it makes for gripping reading. So I just cannot seem to finish these last 6 or 7 chapters, and I'm like you–wanting to break down in tears because I feel like I went down the wrong road somewhere. Hang in there! You're still in that fun, exploratory phase, kind of figuring it out as you go, but I know it's so scary to commit to one path. Arghhhh! The angst of writing!

    1. Oh, the angst! I remember feeling a lot of resistance to finishing the end of BW because I was so worried about whether it was good or right enough. But you can do it! And if you decide it doesn't work–you can always fix it. That's what revision is for. My husband has to keep reminding me of that.

  3. Nicole x

    First drafts after finished pieces can be SCARY. Heck…My second novel was started as a joke. I hadn't been able to write anything in almost 8 weeks between finishing my first novel (I was waiting for it to be revieweed by a friend), and I thought of an idea but thought I could never in a million yrs write it. Then I surprised myself and wrote it in 5 weeks. Five weeks=1 draft. LOL!! My first novel took an entire year to draft and plan and rewrite the opening 2 times before moving onto taking ANOTHER year to write the whole novel.

    I was wondering if its not too personal if u could share your query letter with us. I was always wondering what it looked like…

    I think u should try the guac pop. I love guacamole!!!

  4. The kamikaze version of Write or Die scares the crap out of me. I fight so hard for my words, I can't bear to lose any, even if they are wrong. That's why I write in Scrivener so it's impossible for me to lose a single word

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