Posts Tagged ‘First Draft’




Drafting Series: Thought Splinters

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

For me, drafting a book always starts with a question or two or three? There are always a few unshakable things floating around in my mind that puzzle me. They are like splinters–thought splinters. They get beneath my skin and won’t leave me alone.




All my books start with these sharp slivers and I love that. But thought splinters are not a plot. They are not a handful of developed characters with well rounded arcs. They are certainly not a book. No wonder drafting is not my favorite part of the process. It is very far away from the finish line and so undefined.

But at the same time, drafting is the most organic, uncensored part of my writing. If I’m doing it correctly, I get to create without a filter.

My thought splinters may be small, but they are relentless irritants that inflame deep thoughts. They are my beginning.

How do your drafts begin?


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The Kick-Off of JoNoWriMo: Making Community and Public Humiliation Work for Me

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Touching the Surface, Writing

Just a quick little post because I’m trying very hard to hit a daily word count…starting…yesterday!  I knew that the summer was going to a tough one for trying to juggle everything I needed to do.  I had three kids home and for the first time and an “official” job.  I say official because three boys are a job and a half any way you slice it.  But now, I have a writing career to nurture and an editor and an agent to hold me accountable for my actions or lack there of.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that a soggy, rain-filled August was a good thing.  The swarm of mosquitoes outside my house and the flooding from Irene will tell a different story, but it did allow me to ease my conscious a little when I said…”How about you guys pick out a movie this afternoon while mommy does her edits.”  Sunny days were harder.  I was also able to manage the unpredictable writing schedule because there was a light–a bright and shining light at the end of my summer tunnel.  All my kids are in school full-time for the first time in just over a DECADE!  I knew that I would be able to write soon.  So, I waited it out and here I am and I have more time to write than I ever have had in my life.  Of course, I’ll add the caveat that I have more to do besides “writing” than I could ever imagine either.  It’s astounding to realize how much more there is to the publication process than meets the eye.  This should in no way be taken as a complaint, rather a simple statement of busy-as-a-bee happiness.

Now I’m here, standing in the light and I realize something unpredictable has happened.  I’ve become afraid of my work in progress.  *gasp*  It has been marinating for a long time, I’d even gotten over four chapters written prior to this and they’re good chapters–cleaner, tighter, better by a mile than my last first draft because I have grown as a writer.  But here’s the thing–I know that TOUCHING THE SURFACE is “good.”  It has been critiqued by a lot of people, my agent loves it, and my editor bought it.  *squee*  Now, for the first time I am back to writing in the dark again.  I’m moving forward, following the sound of my own heart and soul and hoping that THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY will grow to be something I love and that others connect with.  The idea that I could fail is paralyzing.

But inertia will not write a book–a good book or a bad book.  Besides, I wouldn’t be writing it if I didn’t think it was the right book and if it’s the “wrong” book, it’s still something that I will learn from on the way to writing the “right” book.

I don’t know about you, but I find it’s often the very first step that hampers my progress and once I take it I look back and think…”Why am I such a dork?  I love this!” I’ve also learned that working with a support system and the threat of possible public humiliation does wonders for me.  Who knew? That made this a perfect time to once again join Jo Knowles and her JoNoWriMo.  Here is her description of the group…

“JoNoWriMo+1.5 is a COMMUNITY effort, and as such, being a member means checking in and providing helpful feedback and encouragement to others. You can do this buy posting something inspirational, commenting on other people’s posts, and showing up on check-in days to check in and cheer everyone on.  What is JoNoWriMo+1.5?  Inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), JoNoWriMo+1.5 is similar, but allows writers 2.5 months to complete a project(s) of their choice. On September 14, participants will state their goals, and then for the next 2.5 months we will work on those goals together. Our challenge ends on midnight, December 1.”

Exactly what I need.  In fact, yesterday was day one and I wrote 1,000 words.  Of course, I was so into it that I didn’t manage to write this blog post in a timely fashion, but I know you don’t mind.  I’d write more, but I’ve got writing to do.  If you need a little inspiration and the threat of public humiliation, come join us.

What gets you writing when your stuck?

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