Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First draft finished

The prose is clunky, many minor characters lack names (they tend to be referred to as "[horse lady]", "[dead guy]", "[other dead guy]", ["?????"]), and a few scenes have no endings. But this ugly duckling's got swan genes, I just know it.

A novel's first draft can be compared to the sketches of a sculptor*: the basic form is there, you can sort of tell what the final version will look like, but it's just the beginning. The real work comes when I pick up the hammer and chisel in a few weeks to begin Draft 2.

I finished it Monday, then took yesterday off--no chores, no work (including blogging), no writing. I finished reading three books and started a fourth. When noon rolled around--my usual writing time--I started to get antsy, then bored, then depressed. Who knew I was such a workaholic?

I guess I'm addicted to the feeling of words rolling off my pen or keyboard. A day without writing is worse than a day without sunshine--with a heat index in the high 90s, I'll take a few clouds right now.

Though I was originally planning to take off two days in a row--you know, create one of those "weekends" I've heard so much about--I'm back in the saddle today, bloggin' 'til 9, then tackling the horror-movie-sized weeds in the front garden. Noon will find me back in front of my beloved laptop, revising a proposal for my agent.

By the weekend I'll be adding to a first draft of a Requiem sequel that I started back in 1998. I don't know if it'll ever sell, but it may be my last chance to write something simply because I love it. Especially if I'm the only one who ever does.

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*Bonus: When I Googled "first-draft sketches of sculptures," I came across this site, a Photoshop contest showing famous artists' early works, stolen from the "archives" of their childhood art classes. My favorites are "Whistler's Mommy" and Mondrian's "Math Doodle." Be sure to check out both pages.

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Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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