Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Want to be a Veg-o-matic Writer

My name is Christy and I'm a First Draft Addict.

Sadly, there is no support group for this time of addiction, so I'll just have to use today's blog to unload. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit my sickness...I may be the only one out there. If that's the case, my dream of having a meeting where we can all get together and share our woes will probably never happen.

It seems every article I read about editing, revising and rewriting a first draft always mentions that this is where the true talent and skill of writing takes place. The shaping and molding of the story and characters and everyone and their writerly brother seems to love it. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but I don't. There. I said it. In fact, I hate it.

I love the rush I get from a first draft. It's like the anticipated season ending of your favorite television show. I want to grab a soda and popcorn, sit back and let the joy begin. The frenetic, zany and wild ride takes off and I sit at my computer, hands on keyboard, fingers clicking happily away and I'm amazed at what shows up on the screen. Meeting characters I never knew existed, situations and events that explode in my mind and jump out onto the screen. It's a roller coaster ride and though it usually takes me weeks to finish, each day, I relish the high.

But then, I type 'The End' and I return to earth. I allow the suggested month or two to let the story sit, but the entire time I'm away from it, I want to go back and see if it's as good as I think it is. Then, the time comes and I unwrap my little treasure and I'm in heaven. It's good! I love it! I'm a freaking literary genius!

Then what happens? Well, I have to fix things. A word here, a paragraph there, a motivation isn't strong enough, my hero's being meaner than he should be, my heroine does something stupid, etc. That's where the veg-o-matic writer in me needs to emerge. The ruthless slicer and dicer of my beautiful, well thought out prose. But slicing and dicing my words is like peeling skin away from my bones with a dull fork. It's painful, it's bloody and I curse...a lot.

The manuscript I'm supposed to be slicing and dicing is beginning to look like a schizoid salad. It's got way too many tomatoes, not near enough lettuce and some sort of odd vegetable I don't even recognize.

So what about you? Are you one of the millions who love the careful crafting performed in revisions or will you join me over on my lonely island of shame and admit that you love pouring out those first draft words and hate the thought of cutting even one tiny sentence?

If you're a born veg-o-matic writer, please be kind enough not to brag. Us FDA's (that's First Draft Addicts) are quite sensitive.


JoAnn said...

I think I'm a mutant. Most of the time, when I start to slice and dice my first draft, I end up adding lots of stuff. Consequently, my second drafts are usually a whole lot longer than my first. I guess my first drafts are more like those bug zapper machines -- anything wandering by within a few inches gets sucked in and fried! :-)

JoAnn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoAnn said...

(The above deleted comment was me! I got impatient, and ended up posting twice. Sorry! :-)

Carla Swafford said...

I was like you Christy about every word being so precious until I realized I had to learn to cut words, paragraphs, pages, chapters out. So to keep from feeling like I'm cutting off an arm, I place those precious words, etc., in a separate file I call BOOK NAME HISTORY. That same files reminds me what color of hair and eyes everyone has, how tall they are and any thing I need to remember about them. Believe it or not it helps.

Plus a time or two, I find a home for those "throw aways."