Working on the first draft for the next book brought to mind a session I remember Salvatore Scibona running at the Wesleyan Writers’ Conference a couple of years ago. He made the point, rather emphatically, that when you are writing a first draft, you should not stop to polish the words or try to make a scene perfect. What is important is getting the draft done, get it all written. Write a sh**ty first draft. There is plenty of time to take that draft and edit it (and repeat that process) but unless the first draft is written completely, you don’t have your story. I think he is right. What would be the point of polishing a piece of dialog so that it is just right if, when we revise the story, it turns out to be unnecessary and we delete it? Waste of time right? So, that’s my objective. Get the whole story out, then start to take a critical look at it.
I do want to mention that Starman’s Saga is going to become an audiobook. This will be my first. I’ve had a number of people ask if there would be one (and at the time, I was saying no) and then I got a blunt piece of advice at Boskone that I was making a mistake. So, here we go. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of April.
I’d also like to mention a quick and fun read: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. This an enjoyable story of an introverted bookworm without any meaningful family, who suddenly discovers she has a large, slightly crazy family and (maybe) a large inheritance. The characters are well crafted, especially Nina, the sort of people who you could imagine meeting at Starbucks. Her predicaments and how she works them out suit both her and the overall tone of the book, which is breezy. I also like the setting but that may also be due to the fact that I know the Larchmont area outside LA where much of the story takes place. The ending did wrap up a little too quick and too tidily, in my opinion, but that’s a minor complaint. A good read and you can go through it in a day.
Now back to the sh**ty first draft.