Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Sometimes Truth about First Drafts

I read once on another author’s blog (I believe it was Natalie Whipple) that writing the first draft of a novel, to her, was like falling in love. Not only is this an awesome comparison, it’s also pretty much correct. The moment you get that first spark of an idea is the moment you meet. The fleshing out of plot details, characters, and emotional arcs is you getting to know your new love. And as you write the book, you become completely and utterly smitten.
Only afterward do you figure out that your perfect lover has all these flaws and jerk qualities. Like plot holes.

But.

Sometimes, writing a first draft is like seeing your ex again for the first time after a bad break up. It’s painful. Awkward. And really, you just want it to be over.

Such is my problem with my current WIP.

Generally, I don’t have this problem. Generally, I love to write a first draft. It’s all magic and rainbows and unlimited ideas. Anything can happen, and that, to me, is one of the most exciting parts of the writing process. But the book I’m writing now is the third and finale book of the BOTM series. Now. It’s not that I don’t love my characters. I do. It’s not that I don’t think the plot is killer. I do. And it’s not that I don’t think the story is worth telling. I do!

It’s just that BOTM and I have had a hard year. We haven’t broken up (let’s face it, we can’t break up because I wrote it and published it, so we will be linked forever), but I’ve had to deal with some unpleasant realities about the book, my writing, and my self-esteem. I’ve shied away from writing this last book for almost six months for many reasons. It’s painful to think about BOTM after all the things I went through. Elation. Excitement. Disappointment. Confusion. Jealousy. Inadequacy. I could keep going, but you get the idea. Sometimes it was awesome to be a debut author, and sometimes it plain sucked. In all honesty, I wasn’t quite prepared for the suckiness. Not that I thought I’d be a best-seller or anything. I just wasn’t ready for the harshness of readers, reviewers and general reality.

It messed with my head. I’ve never been Mrs. Confident anyway, so this year really took a toll on my self-esteem. I gained like five pounds, too. (WHY M&M’s? WHY MUST YOU BE SO TASTY AND FILL THAT HOLE IN MY HEART WHERE MY PASSION USED TO LIE!?!?!)

It’s really hard to force myself through this novel. And it’s not as though I haven’t tried throughout the past six months. I have about five 10K manuscripts in my “BOTM” file, all of which I scrapped. I have about 20K on my current draft, and things are finally feeling . . . not right, but they feel salvageable. I mean, I’m going to have to tear the book apart when I finish the first draft. But like I said, this is just the first meeting after our break up. Everything is raw and painful and forced.

All I can hope is that once this draft is done, I can move on to the healing process.

2 comments:

  1. Hey jen, I've always wanted to get review/ arc copies of books that aren't out yet to do reviews and stuff but idk how to get the books any ideas?

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  2. I get requests from bloggers sometimes (you can find any author's email on their blog or website and ask them that way. Make sure to link to your blog, so they can check it out if they want!). Also, some bloggers go to book expos, where they often give away ARCs. And sometimes authors do giveaways and contests on their blogs to promote an upcoming release. :)

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