Writing Shit

That’s right, I’m writing shit right now.  It’s shit because it’s in first draft phase.  Writers need to understand that it’s okay to write shit… just don’t publish said shit.

Allow me to explain.  Ernest Hemingway said that the first draft of anything is shit.  He was right.  The first four chapters of my current work in progress are sort of lame.  There are editing errors all over the place.  But the important part to know is… this is all okay.  The first draft is where the story unfolds and you get the main idea down on paper.

Then the magic starts happening.  During the first read through (which is often painful) that’s where you get to start making the story better, and then good… and finally really good.

But wait!  There’s more.

After your first read through/second write, and the third or fourth (however many times until YOU can’t see anything wrong with your story) then you pass it onto beta-readers/critiquers.  Something really cool happens then.  People find the mistakes you can’t see because you’ve looked at these 60,000 words too many times.  They catch when someone who had brown eyes suddenly has blue eyes… or the fact that you’re driving a car you left a hundred miles away.  They help you clean it up, to tell you when your pacing and prose is off or whether your story just plain sucks.

If it sucks… it’s still okay, because you can fix it.

There is a whole lot that goes into writing a novel or even novella.  I have yet to receive a bad review, though I’m certain one is coming.  I gave my first bad Amazon review ever, and even then, I tried to be positive.  It wasn’t easy, the book was a hot mess.  The chronological order of things felt like someone stuck you in a blender.  I felt bad for the author because clearly a few family members went on there raving about her book.  I couldn’t get past page 55.  It sucked.

Readers forgive small mistakes, but if I have to work and make notes to follow your book – you’ve failed.

Reviewing the work of others is helping me hone my skills and in the end write better stories.

What challenges do you face?


2 thoughts on “Writing Shit

  1. Totally agree. It was hard to learn that lesson at first: that your first draft is shit. But it was an important one to learn. I’m currently revising/editing my first novel, and it’s a tough process. Any tips on that? It’s about ten times harder than writing the book was, and I thought that was hard!

  2. Writing is easy, the rest is a lot of work. Write your story, then write a 3 page synopsis. See if the synopsis flows well, or make an outline, whatever. You need to have an arc, conflict and be clear about your antagonist and protagonist.

    Then, send it out to critters to pick apart. It’s hard to get a crit back, but this industry requires tough skin anyway.

    Read it out loud a few times. That helps in ways you can’t imagine. Read agent blogs, they give a lot of advice totally free.

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