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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | First Drafts = A Road Trip from Hell

First Drafts = A Road Trip from Hell

Me: (getting into car with a bunch of strangers) Okay, everyone! I realize we don’t know each other very well, but I’m sure we’ll all become good friends as we go. At least we know where we’re headed. (hands paper to the Main Character, riding shotgun.)
Main Character: What’s this?
Me: An outline. Well, a synopsis. More like notes, really. Guidelines. Hang onto them, okay?
Main Character: Sure. No problem. (shoves paper into a crack between the seats)
Me: (pulling out of the driveway) Here we go!
Love Interest: (taps me on the shoulder) What’s with those two in the back? (points a thumb at the third row where two people with blank features sit)
Me: Oh, those are Minor Characters. I don’t know exactly what they do yet, but they’ll develop along the way.
Love Interest: They give me the creeps. Is one of them supposed to be a rival romantic interest?
Me: Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.
Main Character: (pokes me) Turn here. Turn here.
Me: We’re not supposed to turn here.
Main Character: (grabs the wheel) Trust me! Turn here!
Me: Now we’re off course!
Love Interest: I’m hungry. Pull over at that convenience store.
Me: But we only just started! Geez.
(It takes forever for them all to decide what they want, and they keep changing their minds. I go into the store, buy a big bag of junk food, stand in line behind some slow pokes, and finally return to find somebody new in the car.)
Me: Who’s this?
Love Interest: A new character, I think.
Me: (to New Character) Who the heck are you? You’re not in my notes.
New Character: You need me.
Me: For what?
New Character: Not sure, really, but I’m important.
Me: (looking in the car and discovering the Main Character in the driver’s seat) What are you doing?!
Main Character: I’m driving. Get in. (throws the car into drive and I barely make it inside before we peel out of the parking lot)
Me: (hanging onto the dashboard) But you don’t know where you’re going!
Main Character: Let’s face it. Neither did you.
Minor Characters: (rummaging through bag) You didn’t get what we asked for. None of this is right. (throwing Cheetos at my head) You don’t know why we’re in the story, and you didn’t get our orders right.
Me: (to Main Character) Hey! Don’t turn there! We can’t go that way! GPS says the road ends up ahead!
Main Character: You probably need to update your GPS. Relax. We’ll be fine.
Love Interest: (to New Character) Wanna make out?
New Character: You bet!
Me: Hey, you two! Cut it out! That’s not supposed to happen!
Main Character: (turning around to look in the backseat) Hell, yeah! If anybody gets to make out, it ought to be me!
Minor Characters: (pointing straight ahead and shouting around mouthfuls of Fritos) Look out!
(A shocked silence falls over the car.)
Me: We’re in a ditch.
Main Character: Um, yeah. Kind of.
Love Interest: (straightens shirt, looks at me, worried) But you can get us out of here, right?
Me: Oh, now I’m in charge again? Okay, everybody out and PUSH!
(And that’s just the first day …)

23 Responses to First Drafts = A Road Trip from Hell

  1. Sarah says:

    This is brilliant! A great way to begin a Monday morning. Er … well, it’s great to read on a Monday morning, maybe not so great to experience.

  2. Jaime Loren says:

    LOVE IT! But I laughed so loud, I just woke my 13-month-old up after spending an hour getting her to sleep! *shakes fist* 😀

  3. salarsenッ says:

    I love your relationship with this character. Shoving your outline in the seat is my favorite part!!

  4. Gina says:

    Hahaha! My favorite line? “Wanna make out?”

    Love it.

  5. Linda G. says:

    ROF,L! Oh, my gosh. You have described my writing process perfectly. I love it!

  6. I love this!! I know this process well.

  7. This is hilarious. Even though I outline first, this still happens to me.

    Love the make out part. 😀

  8. Tarah Dunn says:

    I can completely relate. Sometimes it’s good to let them take the wheel, but most of the time they take you off course!

  9. “Wanna make out?” *SNERT* LOVE IT!

  10. E. Arroyo says:

    LOL. This is great.

  11. george says:

    Love, love, love this!! This would be awesome as a short film for Sundance!!

  12. george says:

    I have NO IDEA why I am GEORGE! Huh? Anyway, I’m actually mt…. (Continuing my day with an identity crisis!)

  13. LOL! mt — this is not the first time you’ve masqueraded as george. Your computer has a split personality, obviously!

  14. JEM says:

    It’s like you’re in my brain. So. Perfect.

  15. oh man, I absolutely loved this. Thanks for the laugh, with where I am in my WIP I really needed it!



  16. Kathryn says:

    “They give me the creeps”–I LoLed. 🙂

  17. Dianne. This is genius. I love.

  18. Way to get everyone in line. You want to give me a hand with my unruly group??

  19. Southpaw says:

    “Let’s face it. Neither did you.”

    That is the BEST line! Great inner dialog. 🙂

  20. To funny! I’m with Southpaw. That’s a great line.

  21. BookBreather says:

    Oh, I just died of laughter. This is perfect.