First Drafts

I distinctly remember reading that Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series and Host, wrote the first draft of Twilight over the summer. And I thought, how the F-CK did she do that? She has kids and a husband right? How did she write all those words, craft scenes, and write a book in two months?

And then Francesca Lia Block taught a class on how to write a first draft in three months and I thought, how is that possible? I could never do that!!!

And then, this spring, I wanted to start writing Dear Dead Drunk Girl. I had a few fits and starts. Wrote some scenes but nothing felt right and I scrapped it all. Then I had a conversation with Lorin Oberweger and she got it. She totally understood what it was that I wanted to accomplish with my second book, she even ever so graciously and GENEROUSLY gave me my title and we set up a time and date to work together. Not wanting to waste money, an editor’s time or my time I set a schedule for myself. If I wrote 834 words per day Monday through Friday, from June through August I’d have a 50,000 word first draft. I then reminded myself that all first drafts are “shitty first drafts” (famous quote from Anne Lamont, in her book Bird by Bird: some instruction s on writing and life) I got to work. and you know what?…I’m doing it!

It didn’t come easy at first. There were a few days when I felt very confused. Why wasn’t the story working? I knew my main character, Mary. She’s one hundred percent flushed out and living in my head, her vodka soaked personality is vivid, but the story was flat. I stepped away from my keyboard and pulled out my new notebook, and a blue pen, (I hate writing in black ink) and started writing.

Photo on 6-17-13 at 3.15 PM

That’s when the second miracle happened. An outline sprang forth out of me. I am a self-proclaimed panster. (a fly by the seat of your pants writer) But oh no, not this time. I wrote and wrote and wrote- five pages of outline. And then I picked a chapter and started writing. And every day since then, I have done the same thing. Today I wrote 2,077 words.

I want to live in the ecstasy of this impossible dream come true. I set a goal, I am meeting, and exceeding it. I know I will have to go in and do some heavy lifting during my rewrites, but it’s joyous to have pages to revise. It’s amazing to me that maybe I can do this. Book two won’t take years and years to write. That I too, can write a first draft of a world-wide (aim high – go big- dream wildly- I always say) bestseller during the summer even with my little girl and husband’s demands on my time.

I hope you too are meeting a goal. Happy summer writing everyone!

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3 thoughts on “First Drafts

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  1. I’m so impressed by you. You are really stepping up and putting your money where your mouth is. Excited to see how the new outline grows.

    I’m rewriting and have also set a schedule, which is hard to keep some days. I’m aiming for a readable draft by mid-July. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

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