Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You Tell Me: First Draft or Polishing?

I've been diving back into my manuscript in the last couple days as I start a massive rewrite that I want to complete by SCBWI L.A. in August.

The last couple months have mostly been dedicated to querying and all that, so I haven't even looked at my manuscript since probably February.  While I have definitely made some pretty significant changes already, it has been such a joy to reread my manuscript and remember what I wrote.  And thank goodness, I still really really like my story.

As I've said before, I love the spontaneity and excitement that comes with writing a first draft.  There's nothing like spinning a new story and falling in love with new characters.

Another thing that has no parallel is the revision/rewrite process.  Both are really hard work, but also awesomely rewarding.  I love taking that hefty draft I just wrote and getting down all nitty-gritty-like on a sentence level and turning all those cliches and boring sentences into words that have pizazz and jump off the page.

Of course, whether I do this successfully has yet to be determined.  But it's still fun to try.

So which do YOU like better, the blitz of a first draft, or the fine-tuning of the rewrite?  Discuss!


Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, well I write picture books, so not sure my answer counts, but I'd have to go with revising. I have a very difficult time getting the first draft down. I love when I have something down that I can work with. This is especially fun with rhyming picture books. It is hard to get the meter perfect... it's like working on an intricate puzzle, and it is so rewarding when you nail it!

Tyler said...

Of course your answer counts, Corey! haha.

I would definitely imagine revising would be more fun in the picture book realm. In the minimal experience I have writing verse, I love it when a rhyme just fits in perfectly.

Eve Porinchak said...

Fine tuning, fine tuning, fo sho!

First drafts KILL me. I feel like I'm trying to put together a 5000 piece puzzle, that's all white, and I'm floating at zero gravity, so the pieces fly all over the place, and sometimes the pieces fit together perfectly, and then a few hours later I realize those pieces were forced together, and didn't really fit at all, and there's no table in space, so I somehow have to keep the whole puzzle in one flat piece, but it keeps falling apart, and then some of the pieces get lost out in space, so I never find them again...

That's how I feel about first drafts. You asked!

Will we see you in August??


Tyler said...

Hey Eve!

I think you should patent your "Space Puzzle First Draft" metaphor, or at least write a book about it. It could make millions!

And I know all too well you're a fan of the fine tuning ;).

Of course you'll see me in August! :) I can't wait! Been working on my song choice; I thought I had it down, but now I'm not so sure. Any requests?

Casey said...

Historically speaking, I've been all about first drafts. First chapters, especially. Ha!

I'll let you know when I'm done with the rewrites and revisions I have to do on my WIP, though. I finished my rough draft today!

Tyler said...

Haha, yes first chapters tend to be very popular among the writer crowd.

I think revisions and "final" (I put it in quotes because it's not final until it's on the book shelf) drafts are quite a bit tougher as far as discipline goes, but also very rewarding when you do stick it through.