How many licks does it take to get to the center…

I just opened up the first draft of my WIP/revision to compare where the story was with page numbers in the latest draft. Yeesh. But then I started reading some of it, and… there was much more Yeesh. BUT, I think I can take this as a sign of how far I’ve come as a writer. I’ll fully admit that when I wrote that first draft, I was a hack. It was a “shitty first draft” as Anne Lamont reassures me. Stephen King said the first draft is just for you, but not to share. I agree with him too. And I can see…the bones are there.

 blogged today about critiquing. This is something I haven’t done for someone else since college, and I haven’t had done for me yet. Husband helped me with line edits on Ye Olde First Draft, and parents said “nice honey” which should perhaps have all been my first clue about how much it sucked. It finally sank in after I queried the draft and -strangely- got 18 rejections. Most of these were forms, but I thank the AgentGods that bothered to tell me what they hated about my first pages (only one asked for a partial). This led me to set the Draft aside and ponder. I started to rewrite, and pondered some more, not really sure what was wrong. Then I started reading – duh! I soon learned all of the writing sins I had made – AND how to fix them! I gained confidence that it wasn’t my premise which had a problem (Thank whomever you choose to believe in for small favors). But everything else was bad. 

So here I am on the umpteenth draft, and starting to feel some confidence. Not only can I do this, but I can see my flaws. I won’t deny I’ve got the writer ego-bubble totally poofed out sometimes and convince myself I’m the next Stephenie Meyer, but then I get out my needles and mercilessly pop. This part sucks – POP. This is totally unrealistic dialog – POP. This is not moving the story along – POP. And then fill the holes with stuff that… works? 

Maybe I’ll be brave soon and let someone else (not an agent!) decide.

One thought on “How many licks does it take to get to the center…

  1. I’ve found writing is revising, at least much of writing is for me. :)

    Also, critiquing others mss helped my writing and revising skills, as in doing whole ms critiques. Attending a workshop also helped me. You will notice that many writers trade, or occasionally ask for a crit on their posts. I’ve received and given everything from general editorial feedback to line edits. It usually takes me 8 to 20 hours to give a good crit.

    And yes, have another writer (or two) look at your story before you send it to an agent.
    I’ll be super busy with my MFA at Vermont–and unluckily won’t have time to read fulls as often for LJ friends. :(

    Good luck and happy writing.

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