Disclaimer: All the photos in this post are of my own work and are owned by me. If you use them for any purpose, please identify them and attribute them to me. Do not change them in any way or use them commercially.
What follows is essentially my tour presentation for Bitterblue... it is the story of how the book was written. Here goes.
As you probably know if you've spent much time on my blog, I write by hand.
|Click any photo in this post to ginormify.|
Above is the first page of the first draft of Bitterblue. Note that the date is October 25, 2007. Also note -- if you've read Bitterblue -- that this is not how the final book begins. And also that not a whole lot from this page made it into the final draft. What you see above is fairly typical: I write, I scratch out a word here and there, I scratch out a line, I change things; then I put it away for the day, come back the next day, realize the entire thing is crap, and cross the whole page out with a big X. Below is another fairly typical page:
|Reminder: click to make it BIG.|
Once I've written 40 or 50 pages -- or, essentially, get to a point where I'm starting to worry about the house burning down (though I do keep my notebook in a fireproof, waterproof safe) -- I transcribe my handwriting into my Word document using voice recognition software (because I can't type much at all without pain). The transcription, like every other moment when I'm looking at my work, is an opportunity for crossing more things out (symbolically) and changing things.
That's my essential process for every book. But, of course, there's more to it. For example, while I write, I scribble cheery, encouraging notes to myself.
These notes are not born of modesty or low self-esteem. They are born of the simple truth that a first draft is crap; a first draft is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad; and the writer, moving forward while leaving a stream of detritus in her wake, CAN GET VERY DISCOURAGED. But she keeps moving, because, as Robert Frost said, "The best way out is always through."
Sometimes, I'm just trying to keep myself from panicking.
Notice the date. It's April 3, 2010. I've been writing for two and half years. I'm nowhere near the end of the first draft, which is an insufferable mess. I AM FREAKING OUT and trying very hard not to.
|Drafts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and the copyedit and typeset manuscript.|