Yes, yes, I know. You thought I was dead, but I was just playing. And I was good at it. But now I’m back amongst the seriously living folks and I’ve got some news. You remember that super secret writing project that I’ve been working on? I finished it! It was epic! It’s got everything that a middle grade fantasy fiction should have! It’s brilliant, I say! Brilliant!
At least… it was a week ago when I typed the words “The End” at the end of it all. But guess what. Go on. You’ll never guess. Okay, I’ll tell you. I put it down for a week, worked on something else, and didn’t look at it once. Yesterday I pulled it out and did a reread to start the editing process and I found something out. It sucks. I’ll tell you a tale.
Once upon a time I read middle grade fiction because I was a middle grader. Granted, that was quite a few years ago but I still remember what kinds of things I liked to read and what kinds of things I didn’t. What I read yesterday was the kind of thing that I didn’t like to read. Why? Because it didn’t make sense to me. If you take a look at my writing process you’ll understand why my first draft will go through two more revisions before I’m ready to let anyone look at it.
Lenny Writes Stuff One Draft at a Time:
Draft #1: Usually written late at night after a full day of work which includes three cups of coffee, one Rockstar, and a bottle of Coca Cola (no one ever accused me of being healthy, people). By the time I sit down to fulfill my daily writing goal I’m running on pure adrenaline and am not responsible for forgetting to type words, phrases, and/or entire sentences. Also (even though I did plot this one out before I started writing) I tend to change my mind on plot points suddenly as I go along. I call this the Shiny New Idea Syndrome and it has never been my friend while working with a first draft. Recap: Draft #1 inevitably ends in lots of red ink, the filling in of forgotten words, and approximately 60% of crap. Which leads us to…
Draft #2: Fortunately the 40% of stuff I have left over is pretty good (in my opinion, any way… for now). I tend to view all of my writing with an extremely critical eye because I don’t have any writerly friends around at the moment to critique for me. That being said, I’ll use what I have right now to build the framework for the rest of the project. Going along with the first draft (and all its many confusing plot revisions) I figured out how I actually wanted the story to end. Draft #2 is all about changing the rest of the story to match the final outcome.
Draft #3: This part is all about tweaking details until I’m satisfied with what I have. Mainly this will be revising bits of dialogue, making sure that I haven’t used overly repetitive language (ex: I use the word “froze” way to often. So I go through looking for moments when a character “freezes” and take them out wherever they’re not actually necessary), correcting grammar issues, etc.
And that’s how everything will move forward from this point. Once I’ve printed everything out and start editing, I’ll let you know the true percentages of what is getting scrapped and what stays. Until then, happy writing people.