How Bad is Your First Draft?

Tile Design 2My continuing process of what to keep and what to let go, what to work on and what to toss, has brought me full circle back to writing.  I’ve heard it said that if you are a writer you live to write, it’s in your blood.   I think you are a writer if you finish.

I’ve now organized my novel attempts into color coded binders: green, blue, purple and orange.  Four serious attempts with lots of notes, research, picture reference, and at least 40 pages typed each.  My NaNoWriMo is the closest to a completed manuscript, although a very rough manuscript.

FYI:  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Write Month.  There’s a month worth of writing Posts from October of 2012 if you’re  interested in reading more about the challenge I made for myself.  NaNoWri Made Goal.

My passion to be an artist far outweighed my passion for writing until around the year 2000 when writing entered my art process and became more narrative.  Since then I’ve had a passion to improve my writing: taking classes, reading books, working harder, studying grammar, and making tool charts.  And writing, don’t forget writing.
Rule:  Exercise your writing muscle by writing everyday.

As a student in several novel-writing classes, I wrote, shared, and critiqued.  All the students read and critiqued each other’s writing.  Some comments were encouraging, and other comments could stab you in the heart, if you let them.  Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Several critiques did shake my confidence, but I am so-very-happy-now that I saved their comments because now I can read the “lists” and maybe learn from what other writers said about my writing.  The submission, titled Greek Honey; the genre was Romantic Suspense, and my reference author was Mary Stewart.  From ten years ago, here’s the longest list.  Thank you Glenn!  I now have an attitude of gratitude.

Story Critique

 

I think the list is readable so I won’t retype it.  Now, I am getting to the meat of this blog post.  Rule:  ABSOLUTELY DON’T SHARE YOUR FIRST DRAFT.

Writer ReferenceGrammar errors, way too many, could have been corrected.  Speech tags could have been easily added.  Sentences could have been rearranged, dialogue made smoother.
Rule: Get a good reference book and use it.

Back then I did not know this rule.
Rule:Internal thoughts are always First Person, Present Tense

And, Rule:  Know the audience you are writing for.

Here’s a few comments I’ve heard about first drafts:
“All first drafts are crap.”
“First drafts, just barf them out.”
“All good writing is in the re-writing.”

I’ll repeat that last one:  “All good writing is in the re-writing.”

I’ve also heard that agents don’t want to see your manuscript until it is 90% complete.
Or, “only send out your best writing.”

Rule:  Only send out your best writing.

Best wishes to all writers. LR

 

Advertisements

About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative and she works in a variety of materials including pencils, paints, paper, porcelain and fabric. Her current projects involve hand-sewn bookbinding, children's book illustrating, and writing. In 2010, two of her paintings were published in the Saddleback College literary magazine, The Wall. In the past, she has received recognition for painting and doll making. Linda lives in California with her husband and family pet. Her new blog can be found at:www.wingsofwonder.worpress.com Please visit often to see how the site develops. Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to How Bad is Your First Draft?

  1. marilynscottwaters says:

    Writing is easy, rewriting is hard. Finding someone to give you a good crit on your story is even harder. Grammer fixes are easy, the more complicated things are structure and pacing in my opinion. Are the characters engaging? Does the story draw you in and along? You are a good writer, Linda, and your words have color and depth. I’d love to read one of your stories. Hugs, Marilyn.

  2. marilynscottwaters says:

    PS, “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” ~ Zig Zigler

  3. robin says:

    Linda, thank you for sharing Glenn’s critique, the reference book, and your knowledge and wisdom. So helpful. Truly you walk the talk. I look forward to reading your novels in progress.

  4. megtraveling says:

    Great advice and I appreciate your insights!

  5. I usually go through four drafts of anything before I release it into the wild. 🙂

  6. JSD says:

    It must have been hard to read the critique comments…thanks for sharing them with us. Thanks also for the four Rules. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s