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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Me and First Drafts

Me and First Drafts

It’s a love/hate relationship.

I mean, there’s nothing like the exhilaration of completing a brand new chapter, and I’ve been known to stay up WAY past my bedtime because the words are coming and I can’t stop them.
But in between those Ta-Da!moments, I usually stumble over a lot of plot holes, characters with multiple personalities (and not because they’re supposed to have that particular disorder), unnecessary baggage, and oceans full of self-doubt.
Since my current WIP is a sequel to THE EIGHTH DAY, there are other issues, too. This isn’t the first time I’ve written a sequel, but it’s the first time I’ve written a sequel under contract. (The first time I wrote a sequel, I only had to satisfy myself.)
Writing the second book in a series presents a new set of things to be insecure about. Your cool premise is no longer original. Readers are familiar with it from the first book, and they want to know: What else have you got? And although I DO have new things for the second book, I worry whether readers will find them as interesting and exciting as everything that went into the first book. (Luckily, I have a ready-made and eager test audience in my fifth grade students. I might hand pick some student beta readers once I reach the second draft stage.)
I started this manuscript December 4, and over Christmas break alone, I wrote about 14k, doubling the word count. Right now, I’m at 30k words and the middle of the story.
The middle is the worst. Ugh.
What’s your first WIP of 2013?

By the way, I’m a proud new member of the Project Middle Grade Mayhem team! If you have any interest in reading, writing, or teaching MG literature, please check out Project Mayhem and add us to your blog roll!

19 Responses to Me and First Drafts

  1. T. Drecker says:

    Oh, I’m checking out that Project Mayhem. Thanks for the tip!
    🙂 I’d be totally stressed if I had to write a sequel under contract. That self-doubt is a nasty monster. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do a great job!

  2. Tonja says:

    I agree – the middle is the worst. I’m at 37,000 words. The history of the historical fiction is starting to get in my way.

  3. Jemi Fraser says:

    I love 1st drafts – that’s my favourite part! I’ve just started another in between bouts of editing 🙂

  4. Congrats on project mayhem! Fun place! My first WIP of 2013 will probably be the urban fantasy I dropped when the Fossegrim revisions came along.

  5. mshatch says:

    One of your CPs is also eagerly awaiting the next installment 🙂

  6. Because I’m a plotter, I don’t struggle with the middle. I’ve already thought it out before I start writing.

    I’m currently working on the first draft I started last month. I have about 15 K more to write. Yay! I’m actually enjoying the first draft this time. Usually I don’t. But this time I’m writing it from a dual pov (guy/girl) which I’ve never done before. It’s a lot of fun!

    Good luck with your sequel, Dianne. I’ve heard the sequel under contract is the toughest thing to write.

  7. Linda G. says:

    Gaaah. You’ve nailed it about series writing. I’m biting my nails about the release of QUICK FIX in August. I think I’ve added enough surprises that it will still be “fresh,” but who really knows how it will be received? And now I’m working on Book 3, trying like mad to keep it exciting. It’s always a challenge.

  8. Isn’t it such a great feeling when the words are coming and I can’t stop them? 🙂

  9. I feel the same about first drafts. I much prefer editing. But I know you will break through and overcome the middle : ) It always happens, eventually.

  10. Wow, you accomplished a lot of writing over the Christmas break. (I, um, played and giggled with the grandkids.)

    So far, I’ve been doing research and planning for my current WIP, tentatively titled “Blast Rites.” Not sure yet if it’s gonna be one long book, or a trilogy. But it should be fun! (It MIGHT even be considered a YA.)

  11. “Under Contract”. Who knew those could be some of the scariest words ever? Good luck with your editing.

  12. My love affair usually lasts the entire book length of the first draft and then goes stale during editing.

    Good luck with the second book. Having just finished one in a series I relate to the particular trials it presents.

  13. I’m excited you are writing more books. 🙂 I can’t wait to read Caged Graves!

    I don’t have a new WIP, but I’m starting the query process with a couple projects. I do have an idea lurking in the back of my head though….

  14. DL Hammons says:

    WOW! You were a writing machine over the holidays!

    You already know what I’m working on first in 2013. 🙂

  15. Good doe you DIANNE…

    That is one think that terrifies me too. I wrote two novels, and the first is a five part and the second novel will most probably have a sequel. When the time comes and I have to write them “under contract” I will FREAK. I worry about it a lot. What if …

    BUT YOU are NAILING IT! Congrats …. I will remember this when my time comes…

    All the best with the rest of the book!

  16. Lauren says:

    Still writing Courier. Haven’t decided yet whether he or Lisde will go into the prison after the assassin.


  17. I started the year by writing a YA romance novella. It was fun and quick and got my butt in gear this year. 🙂

  18. Robin says:

    I understand your angst. I’ve never written a sequel (much less under contact!), but for me 1st drafts are the best and the worst. Multiple personality disorder, bad guys getting killed more than once, and tons of self doubt fill my 1st drafts.

    I haven’t started anything new for 2013, This morning I wrote The End to my 2012 NaNo and it felt oh so wonderful, but it’s my messiest 1st draft ever and it goes without saying that I’m nervous, okay, terrified, to dig into it.

    Dianne-you can do it, you have pretty of amazing up those sleeves!
    Off to check out Project Mayhem.

  19. Lexa Cain says:

    It sounds like you’re doing great — and there’s nothing that gets butt-in-chair more reliably than a deadline. 🙂