Diamonds in the Rough

When I was a young lad, I used to think the first draft was the final draft. By the time I managed to make it to the last line of a composition, I was done. It took some serious convincing on the part of my dear mother before I accepted the concept that writing is a rewriting process. Now I’m noticing the same flawed thinking amongst some of my creative writing students.

Sure, they’re only thirteen and I should probably cut them a little slack, but I want them to learn it early: the first draft is NOT the final draft. This will be the emphasis next month when they turn on their “Internal Editors” and start revising their NaNo novels. Speaking of which, their combined word count is now up to 390,000!

I’ve shared editors’ comments with my students, as well as my own revision process. “Writing is rewriting,” I tell them. I used my recent sale to The Red Penny Papers as an example. The editor requested three modifications: remove the “head hopping” in a couple scenes, amp up the “weirdness” of my western, and change a character’s name. “Did you do it?” one of my students asked, shocked by the impudence of this editor. “You’d better believe it,” I said, explaining that I wanted the story to be accepted by this market, so I was willing to do whatever it took.

Good news report: I sold a tweet-sized tale to Nanoism this week that will make its world debut on Friday, and my story “Leap Day” was purchased by Port Iris Magazine for their December issue. Also, I’ve made it to the halfway point in my WIP, Progeny, which is another reason for me to be thankful. If only I can finish the first draft before WRITE1SUB1
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