Hemmingway: “First Draft of Anything is S***.”


Setting up a team.

We writer’s who wish to make a living as a writer, a few of us have gone to G+ and are building a community of those that wish to be the *FIRST* to read and give opinions, critique a story. The authors that hold their breath for every first draft we share among ourselves before we can decide to ¬†we need a critique. the words of Ernest Hemmingway.¬†

“First Draft of anything is s***.”

Mr. Hemmingway hit the nail on the head.  Yeah, this correct to the point of being a truism. But not all writers may think of it that way.  

It is an evolution, giving birth to a child of your mind. You work at the idea. Perhaps it comes to you while you are exercising, or in the middle of a meeting at work. Even if you are the CEO, you can’t just jump up and run out to enter it into a file. ¬†You might write it down on a notepad, making it look all official that you are paying attention.¬†

Or perhaps you are wakeboarding on a lake when the idea hits.  By the time you get somewhere to write it down, now has corrupted and no longer what you were thinking. 

How many seeds to novels has this happened? ¬†Thought of, then are stillborn because you were out of position to write them down, or you tell someone who couldn’t care less.

Then you ask them later and they don’t recall.

But then, you are in your garden, or cutting grass, dusting behind the curtains or washing the dishes and the husband, girlfriend, spouse, mom, dad watches you scamper across the floor to type something into the tablet/laptop/desktop. 

Or if it happens when you are in the shower, you use voice to text on your phone.  Then the spouse knocks on the door and asks who you are talking to?

You are a writer, is all they need to know, really.  I tell my spouse such things and she rolls her eyes and walks off. (The curse of artists everywhere I am sure- unless your spouse is one like you.  Like Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo or Stephen and Tabatha King)

So you have this idea.  You write like a madman on too much espresso, you make the hyperactive kitten seem like a sloth in comparison. 

Then you finish and you hand it to someone to proofread and edit. Perhaps two. ¬†Because they are family or friends, you 1. Feel you are taking advantage or 2. ¬†The answers they give may not be stringent enough. ¬†You *think* you have a gem on your hands, and probably is, but you can’t get an agent to read it. ¬†Or you are told your hooks are not developed enough.

So you open the manuscript and begin to re-write. ¬†Perhaps you are Tabatha King and smile, knowing your husband is about to generate another source of income. Perhaps you are Mr. Jones who works turning bills to profits for a company and then you come home to your wife who is a successful attorney — and she is writing, not a briefing, but an adventure or romance.

You read this pride of your spouse… And you facepalm.

Do you tell your best friend it’s great? or do you crush their dreams?¬†

No, you get them to re-write, edit and do it at least a half-dozen times. Then you read it again, do you find someone then to critique it? not a professional “Yes” person. ¬†You want to have them be hard-to-please, but not harsh and cruel.¬†

Polish that rough stone to a beautiful gem.

Then find a group that will give an honest comment after your 8th re-write.

Because every first draft is sh**. 



Reject! Reject! Reject! If you so much as say “huh?” yer alone.


Once again I screwed up the courage to do something new. The last time I was turned down, it took me a year to try again.

Married by Mistake was deemed to be intriguing but unworthy, but worry not, I am not tossing this into the trash, it will be polished (again) and a home found for it.

*Sigh*. Chaotic is how I write I guess. I developed it to a failure on “Flee” (currently being rewritten as well to shine the way it should), and the style may have spilled over into the romance story.

I don’t know. But it is back to the manuscript and trying to polish a..ermm… dirt clod. Something I thought was polished enough, had enough humor in it, a touch of sex, some chocolate (Same scene), fun and adventure, heartbreak, drugs, Mom’n’Dad and an idiot boyfriend. (I’m a dad of 2 princesses, all boyfriends are idiots until proven otherwise).

Perhaps I may need a¬†critique team? ¬†Someone, when I have been up late at night too many times I have gone blind to using¬†ten-dollar words and going off into the land of confusion, will send back “Huh?”

Seriously, I do know I get a bit blind after the second or third edit, perhaps I am not that great of a storyteller- except I have so many stories to tell and they demand to be written.

If I don’t?

I pace, get grumpy, I live in the world anyway.  I shoot my bow and have conversations with the characters that want their story told.  Sometimes they stand in line.

Sometimes they argue.  Ever see a pre-teen child pirate from the 17th century argue with a 21st century college student and have the 24th century captain-paramedic want to talk about his patient that fell off a roof?  I have.

Even now, they are waiting Рimpatiently Рwhile I look Married by Mistake over and over, while re-writing Shock and Awe.  (And writing this in the meantime.)

At any rate, test audience, anyone interested? Get the chance of an assembled and proposed for submission.  I know often the stories I post here are so raw as to reek, then, of course, they tend to go away after a bit as the chapters are re-written and assembled (Some deleted) and the pattern as a whole changes, including sometimes the names of the protagonists or antagonists. *shrug* Such is the world of editing. Right?

Ah well, back to re-writing, reading and editing, trying to figure out how to make a romance of a college student that is facing how to explain to her parents 1. That she got drunk, then married during the party that she does not remember. ¬†2. How to deal with the situation of a fiance back home (Actually goes to Mt. M University) 3. Should she introduce the husband-by-accident to her parents. ¬†I have alluded to, but i don’t think, he is older than the parents. 4. Should it have more sex-and-chocolate scenes?


Anyone interested in having a chance to read before-the-submission manuscripts?

The more the merrier.

Back to editing Married by Mistake, needs the hooks polished…or written in.