Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Step Away From the Delete Key

Recently, I had someone ask why I don't have as much published as other e-pubbed authors. Sure, there are those authors who pump out a 50K book a month and I can't seem to write more than 5K a month.

I sat down and thought. Some of those authors have day jobs, too. Some of them, write only on weekends as well. So why do they write and publish, and I just write.

The other day, when I was having difficulties with a WIP and moved my finger to hover over the delete key, it hit me. They write, despite how well their story sounds to them. I write only until the story starts to fall apart. Then I delete. 

So what stopped me from deleting this WIP? Well, I saw the image posted above. Someone had shared it  on facebook and it made its rounds until I was staring at it and drinking up the wise words. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. My first drafts suck..... And so do everyone elses. 

There is one other WIP that had been close to meeting the trash bin folder but the character was very vocal in my head and announced that she will not leave me alone until I re-write her entire story anyways. I had kept that story and sent it to beta readers hoping they could find my problem areas. Now, however, I think I'll take that tactic with everything I write. Instead of deleting, I will embrace the crappy WIP, and whip it 'til it shines!

Now the big question: Do your first drafts shine, or are they crap?


  1. Hey, I'm there with you. I write 90-100k novels. I get total brain block and it can go on for months until I can find my beginning spot. Once I have that, usually, I can cobble something together.

    This time (for Prophecy of Blood), my first draft is total and utter crap. I'd been struggling all along to get anything down and forced myself to keep going even as plot points/ideas changed. I typed The End (okay, it was just on mY FB status update, but I did type it) last night thank GOD and I'm already itching to get to revisions because I know I've got the beginning of something awesome (IMO) begging to come out.

    Sometimes, the first draft can be decent. Others, like this...not so much.

  2. I call my first draft word vomit. Just let the story evolve and see where it takes me. Some first drafts are fine (usually the ones where the voices were so strong, I had no choice but to write).

    Others take a lot of work to fix. If I think about it too much, my muse stops talking. So nowadays I simply sit on an idea until my muse almost drags me to the netbook to write and then just let rip. It works for me.

  3. Good morning Angelina! I too wonder how so many authors can churn out works at the speed of light while I...well, my second book comes out in a couple weeks and I have NO irons in the fire. I just can't force an idea. This isn't to say I don't write, but I find myself leaning towards short stories these days instead of trying to flesh out a novel. I just don't have time for a big project.

    As for the first draft...yes...they're never terribly stellar! Especially grammatically and they tend to lack much needed detail. To me, my character are alive and well in my head and I know them, but I forget my "readers" don't so I leave things out that they should probably know.

    OK...this is longer than I intended!! But there you are! My thoughts! :)

  4. Every first draft is a rough draft in need of some work. The little pieces are easier to fix than the longer ones. When it's time to edit or polish, I always rename the file too. I want to see where my baby came from and where it ended up. This also prevents me from repeating mistakes. You know, taking sometihng out and putting it back in countless times.

    As for churning out a 50k thing every month? Meh, not even worth comparing yourself to them. The best thing to ask yourself is not "Damn, what can I do to improve my word count?" but "Is what I've written up to my standards?" I'd rather take my time and make my stories right and not cliche than to pump out stories like I was the Octomom of eBooks.

  5. Oh my god, mine are always pure crap. But I've come to terms with that! I just need to get the words down, and then I can fix them.

  6. What wise words by Hemmingway. I am in the 'crap' line when it comes a first draft. I am lucky to have a great crit group who tell me where the holes are so I can try to fix them.

    Great post!

  7. Hey,I haven't written a novel up to 40k yet. But that is a goal. I always think what I am writing is coming out like crap. But I stick with it and keep going till it's done. I have friends beta read and help along. Once I get it down...I feel it can still be fixed.

    Wonderful post.


  8. I also see authors who started out as myself having more books, but it doesn't worry me. I want quality, not quantity. So that is why there will be a bit of time between my last and next. It's not a race, it's what the author is comfortable with. :)

    First drafts. Well, they are not something I show anyone. (that speaks for itself doesn't is a semblence of a story, but it needs fleshing out. Most writers who are in first draft just want to get the story down. That's fine as long as they return to rewrite a few times. :)

  9. I think that should read, Started out at the same time as myself. :) Oppss.

  10. When i first started a year ago I ran into this problem big time, but then my eyes were opened by the words. " Remeber this is a rough draft you can change things later, if you need to do more research or re work something make a note of it and move in instread of letting it stop you." I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist. That really opened up the flow of words. Of course my first draft sometimes look crazy ( research more) ( Put in different word here) ( this phrase looks strange) but it works. Also, having beta's I trust read along the way helps alot too. As writers i think we all have those moments of doubt and we need someone to help up get out of our own heads. Lovely post today Angelina! you're not alone.

  11. I think the best advice I ever got was to just keep writing. I've learned to highlight and leave comments for things I might need to fix. Of course considering I am suffering the worst block ever right now, I don't know how well that advice is working.

  12. Angela, I write like Dean Koontz, who will rewrite a page until it's right before moving on, sometimes redoing a draft thirty or forty times. Except with me, it’s a chapter not a page. Though it is a slow process, it does mean that by the time I type “End,” there’s only one more pass required before I send it to the editor.

    And I've managed to produce six novels like this. :)

  13. Yup, first drafts aren't anything I ever want anyone to read. Ever. Did I stress that enough? lol