So, to continue with my writing saga…
After I got the idea for the story, I started writing. I kept taking notes on various scraps of paper (I didn’t want to forget any great ideas as they came), and just kept typing. I didn’t even write the first book in order — at all. In fact, some of my favorite scenes were written during the first month of my writing. I would be laying in bed at night or doing dishes, or whatever, and suddenly I’d have this great line of dialogue come into my head and a whole scene would be born.
Surprising to even myself, the (very, very) rough draft was complete in about four months. And believe me, it was rough. Then I wanted someone’s opinion, so I emailed it to my sister to read. Now, a lot of credit goes to her for seeing the story through all the mess. She didn’t have any names of people or places, no title, and no tag lines for the dialogue, and yet she still liked the story.
So then I had to start cleaning it up. I had to come up with names for all my characters and cities (some of which changed), and I had to add all the descriptive dialogue terms that make the story come to life. I must admit, this part of the writing process isn’t my favorite, it’s just a lot of work cleaning up details. But it had to be done, so I did it.
I finally felt I had a version that was at least workable, and I got really brave and gave it to a few of my friends. I waited nervously while they read it, hoping it wasn’t absolutely terrible, or boring, or whatever. And, guess what, they loved it! (One of my teenage readers even told me she liked it better than “Twilight.” Now, even I wouldn’t go that far, but when other readers told me the same thing, I thought maybe getting published was a possibility.)
After getting such great feedback, I decided I really needed to put some detail work in. I checked all my punctuation and grammar rules and proof read who knows how many times before I finally thought it was pretty polished — or at least an agent wouldn’t send it back because the commas were all out of whack. Then I had my mom read it (she’s great with critiquing), and she worked over the portions that didn’t flow well or where the language just wasn’t right. And she fixed a lot.
When I was done with all of this, I knew I had to take the next step. I had to get a few other writers to weight in. Talk about scary. To put something out there you’ve worked so hard on, knowing you want critiques, but also knowing that they would be harsh, was a bit intimidating. Next post, I’ll tell you what I learned.