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Rough drafts are the devil

March 5, 2012

My archenemy is the rough draft. And passive voice. And rambling.

Published books are polished (hopefully) with ample description, developed characters and few plot loopholes. When I sit at the computer and try to bang out a few pages in the minutes between my son’s bedtime (or when he agrees to stay in bed) and my own, I grow frustrated as I focus on getting the thoughts out of my head and onto the paper and end up with jumpy dialogue, weak action, and clumsy description.

I work from outlines, but my stories never stay on the expected paths. I constantly make notes about changing past scenes. Or I see schizophrenic characters. I know I should chug through. Later, I can fix and polish and develop, especially since more will go wrong along the way, but damn I hate the process.

But that rambling leads me to another thought…. Editing.  It’s my favorite part of writing. I can’t understand why people cannot edit their own books. I understand that authors may not have a grasp of grammar, and we all have our bad habits or repeated words and phrases. But if you love to write it means you should love to read. I find many writers who don’t understand how to take a manuscript (with edited grammar) and develop an interesting plot. Then again, if they could, I would be out of work.

Anyone I haven’t offended need a book edited?


From → Writing

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. In the past 2 weeks I have dreaded sitting down to write. Everything that comes out of my head seems….wrong. One minute I despise my characters. The next minute I’m loathing the plot. Last night, I woke up at around 3 and had another idea to change my storyline – this adds to the other 6 changes I’ve made in the past week! I know I need to stick to my outline and like you chug away regardless of how I’m feeling but geez….. Its. So. Hard.
    Oh and I might need a book edit. Will you be free in 2035?? (at the writing rate I’m going….)

    • It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! Every day I’m either telling my husband I hate what I’m writing or I’m excited about it. I think he’s worried about this writing thing really damaging my brain. It really hurts your confidence and makes you doubt your attempts, but it’s nice to know that this is Completely Normal. And I think we both know that once we’re finally done we are going to be so relieved and proud no matter the outcome.
      And as far as 2035, I’ll check my calendar, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be busy banging my head against the monitor.

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